Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

Theistic Psychology: 
The Scientific Knowledge of God
Extracted from the Correspondential Sense
of Sacred Scripture

by Dr. Leon James
Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii
Published on the Web in 2004
Last update: 2006

For Permissions Note and Conditions of Use see Volume 18

The Topical Index to Sections and Reading List is in Volume 18

This is Volume 12

The Heavenly and Hellish Traits

(version 45d)

 12.0  The Heavenly and Hellish Traits

                                    12.0.1  The Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772)   

                                    12.0.2  The Fundamental Formula of the New Scientific Revelation

                                    12.0.3  The Mind Is Not in Physical Space

                                    12.0.4  Spiritual Substances Out of Which the Mind is Formed

                                    12.05  The Three Anatomical Levels of the Mind

                                    12.0.6  Love and Truth as Substances

                                    12.0.7  The Geography of the Spiritual World

                                        First Heaven--Spiritual-Natural Correspondences

                                        Second Heaven--Spiritual-Rational Correspondences

                                        Third Heaven--Celestial-Rational Correspondences

                                    12.0.8  Three Degrees of Regeneration by Temptations

                                    12.0.9  The Rational is the Beginning of Being Human

                                    12.0.10  We All Meet in the Mind

                        12.1  Altruism or the Love of Being Useful
                        12.2  Character Virtues
                        12.3  Chastity and Conjugial Love
                        12.4  Wisdom of Innocence
                        12.5  Wisdom of Old Age

                        12.6  Selfishness or the Love of Domineering

                                        12.6.1  Human Freedom--Heavenly and Hellish

                                        12.6.2  The Necessity of Putting up the Effort As-of Self

                                        12.6.3  Compelling Oneself to Do Good

                                        12.6.4  The Role of Our Vertical Community

                                        12.6.5  Spiritual Spheres Within the Mind

                         12.7  Character Flaws
                         12.8  Resentment, Envy, Avarice
                         12.9  The Love of Profanation
                         12.10 Arrogance, Cynicism, Relativism
                         12.11  Corporeality

                                           12.11.1 Overcoming the Life of Corporeality
Spiritual Dangers of Sex Outside Marriage

                         12.12  The Love of Promiscuity and Adultery

Taxonomy of Adulteries

                         12.13  The Love of Corrupting Innocence
                         12.14  The Hatred of God and Heaven
                         12.15  The Love of Abusing Women

                         12.16  Taxonomy of Behavioral Dysfunctions
                         12.17  Psychotherapy as Biological Theology
                         12.18  Keeping track of Negative Emotions
                                            12.18.1  Suspicion
                                            12.18.2  Resentment  
                                            12.18.3  Depression

The Topical Index to Sections and Reading List is in Volume 18

12.0  In the positive bias mode of thinking, heaven and hell are real serious words! There is no longer any doubt whatsoever that heaven and hell are real. Until Swedenborg's unique intromission into dual consciousness, what evidence did we have that heaven and hell exist? I for one, being both a scientist and seeker of truth, have been able for several decades of my adult life to take up a position that says, "There is no heaven and hell." Today I know of the Swedenborg reports (1688-1772)  that prove the reality of heaven and hell as something he was able to visit daily for 27 years. In every generation since then, his notes and explanations were published and translated in several languages by those who were able to appreciate them. I found them in our university library one blessed lucky day in 1981. They were in the form of 30 volumes in English (Roche Edition), donated to the library by a benefactor who could appreciate them and had the love to want to share them.

 12.0.1  The Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772)

I've been reading them daily for the past 23 years. Anyone today can have free online access to Swedenborg's Writings (see here: ). It only takes secondary school textbook literacy to be able to understand all of it. In fact, as you read with the positive bias, you get more intelligent, more rational, chapter after chapter and volume after volume. Swedenborg didn't just include his daily journal entries in amazing detail, describing the people he interviewed and observed, the experiments he was able to run, and the descriptions of the landscapes and cities he visited there. He also adds a rational explanation of what he saw, heard, and found out in the spiritual world. He was a well known scientist, respected for his engineering inventions and elegant solutions to several well known scientific puzzles. He was a government mining engineer with high administrative responsibilities. He was an active member of the legislative body in Sweden and he traveled throughout Europe visiting with scientists and their laboratories, searching for new scientific knowledge and practical applications.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, he was having these amazing experiences in the spiritual world. In the evenings and whenever he could take time off from the job, he was writing furiously, anxious to record everything accurately and to make sense of it, and finally, to publish it, which he did at his own expense despite his moderate income level, then giving the books away free. There was no hope or intent to make money but to discharge his Divinely appointed duty to write and publish the books of the Writings as new Divine scientific revelations bestowed upon humanity at this time for reasons to be discussed.

The books came out, one after another, from 1744 to 1771, and I have learned from some biographers of Swedenborg, that the books caused quite a bit of stir in the intelligentsia in Sweden and in other parts of Europe. The books of the Writings were at first published anonymously and I read that there was curious talk about who this man was who was writing these amazing travelogues in heaven and hell and who at the same time, writes with such authority and genius about the Bible. Later Swedenborg acknowledged that it was him and after that, he put his name on all his subsequent publications of the books of the Writings.

I also read that Swedenborg became quite a celebrity in Sweden and elsewhere and people wanted to know what all the hoopla was about and whether this man was sincere and could be trusted. People also wanted him to give demonstrations of his ability to see into the spiritual world. On one occasion a woman came to him and complained that her husband had recently passed away and his creditors were after her now to pay certain bills that her husband had told her he had already paid. She begged Swedenborg to talk to her husband in the spiritual world and ask him where he had put the receipt. Swedenborg agreed and reported to the woman that the receipt is inside a certain table with a hidden compartment. She checked it and it was there.

At another time Swedenborg was eating dinner with Royal guests at a city 500 miles from Stockholm. He suddenly got up very agitated and blurted out that there was a major fire going on in Stockholm and it had reached near his house where he had kept his precious notes. After a few minutes he was able to calm down and announced with relief that the fire had been extinguished prior to reaching his house. A few days later, a courier came from Stockholm confirming that there had been a fire and that Swedenborg's house was saved.

When Swedenborg was a little child he was able to speak with angels and he received from them a deep interest about God and the salvation of the human race. His parents were greatly impressed and puzzled by this young child's genius and compassion. Swedenborg developed a lifelong deep love and respect for the Holy Bible which he studied all his life, even more so, when at age 57 he suddenly developed the ability to be conscious in his spiritual mind and see the spiritual world and walk around in it and talk to the people there. For the next 27 years Swedenborg lived in both worlds at the same time.

For the first time in the history of the human race, a respected scientist was given the opportunity to enter the spiritual world while he was still a scientist on earth. This was the greatest miracle or new Divine event in the history of the race. Swedenborg was thus able to divide his attention between what his natural mind was doing--taking care of business here below, and what his spiritual mind was doing--exploring the spiritual world. His daily written notes in nearly 30 volumes constitute history's greatest literary and scientific achievement. The "Writings of Swedenborg," as everyone has been calling them, begin a new age for science because they introduce previously unavailable observational and experimental data about the spiritual world and how it influences, even determines, the events and phenomena in the natural world.

12.0.2  The Fundamental Formula of the New Scientific Revelation

The most amazing fact I learned that helps me understand the whole thing is this:

spiritual world = mental world = immortality = eternity in heaven or hell

This fundamental equation summarizes what theistic psychology is based on and why it is a science. Another way of expressing this relationship is to say that the geography of the spiritual world = the anatomy of the human mind. Both are made of rational ether, which is the expanse created by the Sun of the spiritual world. The mental world is an expanse of rational ether and it is the same expanse as the spiritual world Swedenborg witnessed. In other words, when we are in our mind, thinking and feeling and imagining, we are in the spiritual world. The Spiritual Sun is in our mind because it overlaps completely with the spiritual world. Similarly, heaven and hell are in our mind, for the same reason.

What is amazing is that the mental world of every human being overlaps with the same objective spiritual world since there is only one spiritual world for all human minds. This means that when we are freed from our physical body at its death, our mental body or mind now becomes conscious of the spiritual world. IN this new mental state we are in company with everyone else in that mental state. The afterlife world is a rational expanse where all human beings congregate and live forever. Those who are similar and compatible appear to each other and can interact and form communities of angelic societies, and also, communities of hellish or infernal societies These are the heavens and the hells Swedenborg witnessed..

It takes rational reasoning skills to be able to figure this out and to understand it with total clarity. The effort is well worth it because through it you turn yourself into a fully rational human being. This formula, when fully comprehended, causes you to be spiritually enlightened. Your rational and spiritual consciousness is immeasurably enhanced and taken up to a new higher level of operation. Life on earth becomes completely understandable, completely acceptable, completely controllable. You now take charge of your immortality and provide for yourself and your conjugial soul mate an eternal habitation in heaven, in the company of friends and like minded neighbors.

How is this possible?

Because the process of understanding this formula is an awakening process. This is what has happened to me, and to many others who have read Swedenborg in a positive bias framework without trying to modify or fit the content into a different context, as some readers have also done.

Now this Divinely revealed formula enters science through theistic psychology. Swedenborg did not write this formula, but it is a way I can summarize my understanding of the Writings in relation to the science of psychology, an academic discipline that I have practiced and taught for 40 years, and still am today. It would be useless to science if this formula were to be accepted as a system because I said so. I have seen many formulaic expressions of enlightenment and salvation in several religious and mystical traditions, but not one of them captured my full loyalty because not one of them was completely rational, understandable, clear, scientific, and verifiable evidence about God, heaven, hell, the afterlife. But no such evidence existed until Swedenborg. Now the search is over for anyone who is willing to study the Writings with the positive bias. (See Chapter 1 in Volume 1 for a discussion on the positive and negative bias in science).

12.0.3  The Mind Is Not in Physical Space

The fundamental formula given above expresses the identity relation between the mental world and the spiritual world. It means that the mind of every individual born human is immortal and exists forever in the same spiritual world or eternal state of life. The mind is fixed, unmovable, and immortal because it is not born in physical space and time, like the physical body. Only material objects in space and time can move, like the electrical operations within our brain cells--they move. But the sensations and perceptions of them in the mind does not move, cannot move because sensations and perceptions are not in space and time.

All mental operations take place outside or apart from physical space and time. We need a word to describe the operational reality of mental acts like thinking and feeling. It's common to use the term "mental world" to describe the "place" where mental operations take place. Thoughts and feelings are operations in the mental world. We are very familiar with the mental world so it wouldn't make sense to say--how can we prove that the mental world exists. A condition is defined as existing in science if the observational evidence is available to anyone for verification. Clearly, the mental world is available to anyone for observation and confirmation.

One can deny what exists, of course. Someone can say, "There is no mental world," or, "There is no God," or, "Shakespeare did not write the famous plays but some other man," or, "There never was a holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis in World War II," etc. These denials of reality are irrational.  Among scientists there has been a debate going on for a long time as to whether the mental world of the mind is as real as the physical world of the brain. This question or doubt is prompted by materialism and atheism--the negative bias in science. We need not concern ourselves with this here--but see the discussion of it in Chapter 1, Volume 1. Now within the positive bias, we can rest with the rational concept of the reality of the mental world, in addition to what we already know, namely, the reality of the physical world. Scientific dualism is the acceptance of the possibility that the mental world is as real as the physical, or more real. It is the rational understanding that the universe is dual--one portion of it is natural involving physical matter, time, and space, and the other portion is mental involving spiritual substances apart from time and space that exist in the spiritual world and are eternal or immortal.

The mind must be rationally defined as a spiritual organ. In other words, when we are born we are in fact dual citizens existing simultaneously in the natural world and in the spiritual world. Our brain and physical body are formed from physical matter from the sun and galaxy that has emanated from their hot mass, spread out into space over time, and cooling off, formed planets and an environment that supports plant and animal life. Our mind and spiritual body are formed from spiritual substances from the Spiritual Sun in the spiritual world, which is a hot and bright mass from which emanates spiritual substances, filling the spiritual expanse where human minds are born and continue existing there forever. Every human mind must be immortal because it is composed of immortal spiritual substances. Every physical body must be mortal because it is composed of temporary structures that disintegrate over time and are not capable of maintaining themselves in function or original integrity.

This pint of view is called substantive dualism. Not merely dualism, like the dualism of Descartes and others that are kept track of in the history of psychology textbooks. Substantive dualism specifically includes the existence of the Spiritual Sun, and the formation of human minds out of the substances streaming out of it. Substantive dualism allows for the equation mind=spirit, or, mental world=spiritual world. Other types of dualism are not fully rational and scientific because they are ignorant of the spiritual world and the Spiritual Sun, and are unable to explain how we transition at death from a human being on earth to a spiritual being in the afterlife. They do not give an account of what is the afterlife because they had no way of knowing that. And if they read about it, they had no way of verifying it.

Substantive dualism is possible only since the reports of Swedenborg on his nearly 30 years of daily exploration of the spiritual world where he was able to see the Spiritual Sun with his own eyes, and was able to talk to those who could also see it. In fact, anyone he talked to in the heavenly cities and societies, was able to see the Spiritual Sun, though it appears differently at the different layers of the human mind--very bright and hot at the celestial level, not so bright and hot at the spiritual level.

Now what are these substances that come from the Spiritual Sun that are the constituent forms of our organic mind? The answer is awesome, far more so than anything in physical imagination like Lord of the Rings or The Matrix.

12.0.4  Spiritual Substances Out of Which the Mind is Formed

Swedenborg saw the Spiritual Sun daily for nearly 30 years while living on earth. All of us will be able to see it when we enter the state of our mind called heaven. In the midst of the Spiritual Sun he saw the Divine-Human, just as all the inhabitants of heaven are able to see the Divine-Human in the midst of the Spiritual Sun. In other words the Spiritual Sun is a Divine Aura of the Divine-Human or the Incarnate God.

Sacred Scripture reveals that God is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. Swedenborg was able to figure out, long before he acquired spiritual consciousness at age 57, that God is pure Love in infinite proportions. He also was able to figure out that this Divine Love must somehow be transmitted to our soul, which then gives it life. This life is what animates our mind as well as the cells of our physical body. But obviously, the way the Divine Love enters the human soul and animates it, must be different from the way Divine Love enters plants and rocks and electrons and gives them their useful form and function.

In other words, God creates "vessels" or receptors for Divine Love streaming forth from Himself into the universe. These created structures or organs receive the Divine Love differently in accordance with their specific structure or form. An electron or galaxy receives the Divine Love differently from a biological cell or the brain, and differently from the soul or human mind. The "chemical world" is animated physically by the Divine Love, and the "vegetable world" is animated livingly. Rocks do not receive life but plants and animals do. The human mind is a unique and superior construction to the animal mind or to physical objects. There is a closer relationship possible between the living human mind and Divine Love than there is with all other constructions--geological, plant, or animal.  And this id due to rationality. Only the human mind can receive rationality. Since rationality is immortal or eternal, made of spiritual substances, it is rationality that imparts immortality to the human mind.

So far we've been discussing Divine Love as a substance emanating from God or the Divine-Human through the Spiritual Sun, and entering all created constructions to animate them or to dynamize them into operation and function or use. This Divine Love emanating from the Spiritual Sun is also called "spiritual heat." Just as physical heat from the natural sun is intertwined with physical light, in a correspondential way spiritual heat (or love) is intertwined with spiritual light, which is also called truth.

So this is the big news: That love and truth are Divine living and immortal spiritual substances out of which our mind is constructed as an organ in the spiritual body in the spiritual world.

When you explore all the dimensions of this fact you will see how awesome it is indeed. And it will take you to enlightenment, or the full clarity and understanding of actual reality, and control over it. What more can one wish for?

First, this is proof that we are immortal. Not of course to those who are still in the negative bias, in which case instead of a proof it will seem like a laugh. But in the positive bias you can see the rationality of this conclusion. It makes sense to say that an object is immortal if it is made exclusively of immortal components. Just as it makes sense to say that a knife made of an indestructible alloy will never have to be replaced or sharpened. No matter how much it is used, no matter what it is used on, no matter what crushes it or burns it, that knife will not need any sharpening for as long as the planet exists. You can see then that the mind cannot die because it has no components that can die, or give out, or be destroyed by some fire or electrical zap. And if the mind is immortal, so are we, because we are nothing else than our mind. We are not our physical body, which gives out over time or is destroyed by something. We are our immortal mind which cannot be destroyed or cease its operations to eternity.

The mind is a spiritual organ like the brain is a natural organ. The brain's structure involves neuronal fibers and neural cells made of physical matter coming from the natural sun in the form of heat and light. Similarly, the mind's structure involves neuronal fibers and neural cells made of spiritual heat and spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun. The neural fibers of the brain are temporary and destructible. But the neural fibers of the mind are permanent and indestructible. The heat and light of the physical sun or star, contain hundreds of distinct elements, many of which have been identified by science, like mercury, diamond, oxygen, nitrogen, and the compounds into which they are structurally gathered like hydrochloric acid or protein molecules. The muscles we use are therefore compound structures made of the heat and light of the natural sun and stars. Similarly, the spiritual neurons of the mind are formed and constructed by the spiritual heat and light of the Spiritual Sun.

12.0.5  The Three Anatomical Levels of the Mind

Our mind, like our brain and sense organs, is an organic structure made of sub-components, like the heart which has a left and a right portion, each doing their own work or function. The mind's organic anatomy has been revealed in the Writings. There are three major levels of mental operations or states to keep track of in order to understand how our mind works and how we can control its direction and development.

Anatomical levels or states of the mind:

  • (3) The celestial state or level of operation (= the "celestial mind")

  • (2) The spiritual state or level of operation (= the "spiritual mind")

  • (1) The natural state or level of operation (= the "natural mind")

You also need to keep track of the type of operation in the mind of which there are three.

Types of operations or functions of the mind:

  • (i) The affective operations in the affective organ of the mind (= the "will")

  • (ii) The cognitive operations in the cognitive organ of the mind (= the "understanding")

  • (iii) The sensorimotor operations in the sensorimotor organ of the mind (= the "sensations")

Affective operations are feelings, motivations, impulses, tendencies, affections, loves. Cognitive operations are thoughts, ideas, concepts, images, and  reasonings. Sensorimotor operations are sensations, attentional focus, and motor determinations or behavioral sets.

If you keep track of the three types of operations at the three levels, you will have a chart in your understanding by which you can comprehend or research almost anything about the human mind. This chart would look this:




celestial affective

celestial  cognitive



spiritual affective

spiritual cognitive



natural affective

natural cognitive


I call this type of chart an "ennead matrix" which the dictionary defines as a structure of nine. In this case the mind's operations can be tracked by an ennead matrix that displays nine categories of operations to keep track of in describing the mind's operations:

  • (9) the celestial feelings (affective level 3)

  • (8) the celestial thoughts (cognitive level 3)

  • (7) the celestial sensations (sensorimotor 3)

  • (6) the spiritual feelings (affective level 2)

  • (5) the spiritual thoughts (cognitive level 2)

  • (4) the spiritual sensations (sensorimotor 2)

  • (3) the natural feelings (affective level 1)

  • (2) the natural thoughts (cognitive level 1)

  • (1) the natural sensations (sensorimotor 1)

It helps a lot in deepening your understanding of this universal spiritual human structure if you can reproduce it yourself on a piece of paper and if you can then explain it to someone.

Here is the way I explain it. We have feelings, thoughts, and sensations. I call this the "threefold self." These operations define what the mind is. We can have these operations at different levels of consciousness and rationality. For instance, we can have celestial feelings--like compassion for someone's need, so that we reach out to help. Having or experiencing that celestial feeling is what initiates our action of helping out. The feeling is not enough because we need also to know what would help and how we can provide it. These are thoughts, not feelings. In order to act on anything whatsoever we need to have an initiating feeling or motive or need--these are equivalent in that they are affective operations. Once this initiating feeling is felt or experienced, it starts selecting from our cognitive mind those operations that result in a cognitive plan for help that is assessed as adequate and workable. So the affective operation begins the behavior, the cognitive operation directs it, and the sensorimotor operation executes it. This way of  talking about behavior is called the "threefold self" (see Section xx).

  • The celestial self is the third or highest level of operation of the mind (9 ==>8==>7)

  • The spiritual self is the second or intermediate level of operation of the mind (6==>5==>4)

  • The natural self is the first or lowest level of operation of the mind (3==>2==>1)

The numbers refer to the ennead matrix above. Note that the sequence of behavior is always:


The mind always operates by means of the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor operations working together. The natural mind (cells 3,2,1) is what we are very familiar with because it is our daily conscious self while we live on earth. We are unconscious of the operations that are always going on in the spiritual mind (cells 6,5,4) and in the celestial mind (cells 9,8,7).

In order for the conscious natural mind to operate it is necessary that the other two unconscious levels of the mind be operative. The reason is that all operations of the mind are by correspondence reacting to the influx of the Spiritual Sun. In other words, once the mind becomes operational at birth, not only is it being built up by the spiritual heat and light of the Spiritual Sun, but the portions that are built up have the capacity to receive more spiritual heat and light, which initiates all the operations in the mind. The mind is built out of the same substances that also activate it and keep it functioning in perfect order to eternity. The mind is therefore not only an immortal spiritual organ, but it is also constantly 'online' like an electric stove that is plugged in and is thereby able to do its work of heat. Unplug it, and the stove cannot do its work. It has to be 'online' and you know it from the electricity bill at the end of the month!

The mind's operations are therefore dependent on the inflow or "influx" of spiritual heat (or love) and spiritual light (or truth). This is truly remarkable. The mind is made of love and truth and it is activated by love and truth flowing in. At the same time, the mind has the capacity to invert the incoming love and truth into their opposites. This inversion process requires rational ability.

For further Discussion see Section in Volume 1.

Quoting form Swedenborg's Writings regarding one of his experiences in the world of spirits involving people he called "universal proof-mongers":

The third experience.
After this one of the angels said: 'Come with me to the place where they are shouting "How wise!" You will see monstrous people there, with the faces and bodies of human beings, though they are not human beings.'

'Are they animals then?' I asked.

'No,' he replied, 'they are not animals, but bestial people. They are those who are utterly unable to see whether truth is truth or not, although they can make anything they wish appear to be true. We call such people proof-mongers.'

We followed the noise of shouting and reached its source. There we found a group of men surrounded by a crowd. There were in the crowd some people of noble lineage, who, on hearing that they proved everything they said, and so obviously agreed in supporting each other, turned around and said 'How wise!'

[2] But the angel said to me, 'Let us not approach them, but let us call out one from the group.' We did so, and took him aside; we discussed a variety of subjects, and he proved each point so that it seemed exactly as if it were true. So we asked him whether he could also prove the opposite. He replied he could do so as well as the earlier points. Then he spoke openly and from the heart: 'What is truth? Is there any truth in the whole of nature other than what someone makes true? Say anything you please, and I will make it true.'

'Establish then,' I said, 'the truth of the following proposition: faith is all the church needs.' He did so, with such cleverness and skill that the learned men who were present clapped to express their admiration. Next I asked him to establish the truth of the proposition that charity is all the church needs; and this too he did. Then I asked him about the proposition that charity is of no use to the church; and he so dressed up either proposition and adorned them with plausible arguments that the bystanders looked at one another and said: 'Isn't he wise?'

'Don't you know,' I said, 'that living a good life is charity, and having a correct belief is faith? Does not the person who lives a good life also have a correct belief? And consequently faith is a part of charity, and charity a part of faith? Can't you see that this is true?'

'I shall establish the truth of it,' he said, 'and then I shall see.' He did so, and then remarked: 'Now I see.' But a moment later he established the truth of the opposite, and then he said: 'I see that this too is true.' We smiled at this and said: 'Are they not opposites? How can two opposite propositions both appear to be true?' He was indignant at this and answered: 'You are wrong. Both propositions are true, because there is no truth other than what someone establishes as true.'

[3] A man was standing nearby who in the world had been an ambassador of the highest rank. He was astonished at this and said: 'I admit that something like this goes on in the world, but still you are crazy. Establish, if you can, the truth of the proposition that light is darkness and darkness is light.'

'Nothing easier,' he replied. 'What are light and darkness but conditions of the eye? Is not light changed into shadow, when the eye comes in from sunlight, and also when one stares fixedly at the sun? Everyone knows that then the condition of the eye changes, and light then seems like shadow; and in the opposite case when the eye returns to its normal condition, the shadow seems like light. Does not the owl see the darkness of the night like broad day, and daylight like the darkness of the night? And then it actually sees the sun itself as a dark and dim ball. If a person had the eyes of an owl, which would he call light and which darkness? So what is light but a condition of the eye? And if so, is not light darkness, and darkness light? So just as one proposition is true, so also is the other.'

[4] But seeing that this proof had confused some people I said: 'I have observed that this proof-monger is unaware of the existence of true light and false light. Both of these forms of light appear to be light; but false light is not really light, but compared with true light is darkness. The owl operates by false light, for its eyes are filled with a desire to pursue and devour birds; this light enables its eyes to see by night, exactly like cats' eyes, which glitter like candles in cellars. The false light in this case arises from the desire to pursue and devour mice which fills their eyes and has this effect. This makes it plain that the sun's is the true light, and the light of desire is a false light.'

[5] After this the ambassador asked the proof-monger to establish the truth of the proposition that a raven is white and not black. 'Another easy task,' he replied. 'Take,' he said, 'a needle or a razor and open up the feathers and plumage of a raven; or take away the feathers and plumage and look at the bare skin of the raven, is it not white? What is the blackness that surrounds it but a shadow, which must not be used to judge the raven's color? Consult the experts on optics, and they will tell you that blackness is merely shadow; or grind a black stone or a piece of black glass into fine powder, and you will see that the powder is white.'

'But when you look at it,' said the ambassador, 'surely the raven appears black?' But the proof-monger replied: 'As a human being are you willing to think about anything from appearances? Of course you can speak from appearances of the raven as black, but you cannot really think so. For instance, you can speak from appearances of the sun rising and setting; but as a human being you cannot really think it does, because the sun remains unmoving, and it is the earth which moves. It is the same with the raven; appearances are only appearances. Say whatever you like, the raven is utterly and completely white. It also turns white when it grows old, a fact I have observed.'

At this the bystanders looked at me. So I said that it is true that the feathers and plumage of the raven have inside a whitish tinge, and so does its skin. But this is true not only of ravens, but of all birds throughout the world; and everyone distinguishes birds by their coloring. If not, we should have to say that every bird is white, which is absurd and useless.

[6] Then the ambassador asked whether he could establish the truth of the proposition that he himself was insane. 'Yes,' he said, 'I can, but I don't want to. Everyone is insane.'

Then they asked him to speak from the heart and say whether he was joking, or whether he really believed that there was no truth but what someone established as true. He replied, 'I swear I do so believe.'

Afterwards this universal proof-monger was sent to some angels to have his nature examined. After doing this they said that he did not possess a grain of understanding. 'The reason is,' they said, 'that in his case everything above the rational level is shut off, and only what is below this level is open. Spiritual light is above the rational level, and natural light is below it, and it is natural light which enables a person to prove whatever he likes. But if there is no spiritual light flowing into natural light, a person cannot see whether some truth is true, and consequently not whether a falsehood is false either. The ability to see either comes from the presence of spiritual light in the natural light, and spiritual light comes from the God of heaven, who is the Lord. Therefore the universal proof-monger is neither a man nor an animal, but a beast-man.'

[7] I asked the angels about the fate of such people; how could they be in the company of the living, since spiritual light is the source of people's life; and this is the source of their understanding. They said that as long as such people are alone, they cannot think or talk about anything, but they stand as dumb as machines and as if fast asleep. But they wake up as soon as their ears catch any sound. They added that it is those who are inmostly wicked who become like that. Spiritual light from above cannot flow into them, but only some spirituality through the world; this is what gives them the ability to make up proofs.

[8] When they had said this, I heard one of the angels who had examined him say: 'Make a general conclusion out of what you have heard.' My conclusion was this: it is not the mark of an intelligent person to be able to prove anything he likes; but to be able to see that truth is true and falsehood is false, and to prove that, is the mark of an intelligent person.

After this I looked towards the gathering where the proof-mongers stood with the crowd around them shouting 'How wise!'; and suddenly a dark cloud overshadowed them, with owls and bats flying about in it. I was told: 'The owls and bats flying about in that cloud are correspondences, so as to display their thoughts. The proving of falsities, so that they seem like truths, is represented in the spiritual world in the form of birds of nocturnal habit, whose eyes are inwardly enlightened by a false light; this enables them to see objects in darkness as if in daylight. Those who prove false propositions until they seem true and are afterwards believed to be true, have a similar, spiritual, false light. They are all able to see behind them, but nothing at all before them.'  (TCR 334).

Swedenborg's interviews and experiments in the world of spirits are recorded in the books of the Writings. Never before has a scientist been given this opportunity to access the facts about the human mind by direct observation. These facts, and the inspired rational explanations Swedenborg fashioned around them, constitute the content of theistic psychology.

12.0.6  Love and Truth as Substances

Think about it! The mind is constructed out of love and truth. Who knew before this revelation that love and truth are substances streaming from a Sun? Swedenborg was able to figure it out even before he developed at age 57 the ability to be conscious in both worlds simultaneously. He figured it out solely on rational thinking added to his knowledge of the Bible. Later, when he acquired his spiritual consciousness, he was able to confirm many of the things he had figured out solely on the basis of his rational thinking and the positive bias.

Love and truth issue together but they are received separately in our mind--love into the affective mind ("will")  and truth in into the cognitive mind ("understanding"). The affective organ of the mind is constructed out of the substances of love (or "spiritual heat") and the cognitive organ of the mind is constructed out of the substances of truth (or "spiritual light").

Similarly, the cognitive mind (our thoughts and reasoning operations) is made operational by the influx of spiritual light or truths, while the affective mind (our feelings and motives) is made operational by the influx of spiritual heat or loves.

Now you can begin to see rationally how it is true that the mental world = the spiritual world. The geography of the spiritual world is identical to the anatomy of the mind. The spiritual world is an expanse created by the Spiritual Sun just as the outer space between the planets is a space created by the star that governs the gravitational field wherein lie its planets.

12.0.7  The Geography of the Spiritual World

The spiritual world is an expanse that Swedenborg visited for nearly 30 years while still a citizen on earth. He describes its hierarchically organized vertical structure which consists of these separated layers:

  • (a) The Spiritual Sun

  • (b) The inhabitations of the Third or Celestial Heaven

  • (c) The inhabitations of the Second or Spiritual Heaven

  • (d) The inhabitations of the First or Natural Heaven

  • (e) The world of spirits where everyone's mind is born and grown

  • (f)  The inhabitations of the hells (also arranged in layers of depth)

Swedenborg experimentally observed what happens to a sentence written on a piece of paper by the inhabitants of the Third Heaven who are called "celestial angels." The sentence written in celestial-correspondences "was sent down" to the inhabitants of the Second Heaven who are called "spiritual angels." The sentence had changed. It now said the spiritual-rational correspondence of the original celestial sentence. That was then "sent down" to the inhabitants of the First Heaven who are called "angelic spirits," and the sentence had changed to a spiritual-natural correspondence of the original. This descent of meaning corresponds to the descent of consciousness as love and truth descend from the Spiritual Sun through the layers of correspondences that are built into the layers of the human mind. When the paper was let down into hell the inhabitants read it and what they saw was the logical opposite of the truth that had been originally written.

Here is another such experiment that reveals the how the geography of the spiritual world is related to the anatomy of the human mind. Quoting from Swedenborg about an experience he had in the spiritual world. The expression "marriage of good and truth" is used, which is the same as love and truth, since in the Writings, good and love are defined through each other. Whatever is said anywhere about love also applies to good, and vice versa, just as whatever is said about truth also applies to "wisdom," intelligence, and rationality. "Angel" refers to anyone who is an inhabitant of the heavens.

Awoken from sleep in the middle of the night I saw fairly high up towards the east an angel holding a paper in his right hand. It was brightly lit up by the sun, and in the middle there was writing in golden letters. I saw that the inscription was: The marriage of good and truth. A radiance sparkled from the writing, and spread into a broad ring around the paper. This radiance or halo looked like the dawn in springtime. Afterwards I saw the angel coming down with the paper in his hand, and as he came the paper shone less and less, and the inscription, The marriage of good and truth, changed from gold to silver color, then to that of copper, later to that of iron and finally to the color of rust and verdigris. At last the angel appeared to enter a dark cloud, and passing through the cloud appeared on earth. There the paper, though still held in the angel's hand, was invisible. This happened in the world of spirits, into which everyone comes at first after death.

[2] Then the angel spoke to me. 'Ask those,' he said, 'who are coming here whether they can see me or anything in my hand.' A great crowd came, one group from the east, one from the south, one from the west and one from the north. I asked those from the east and south, men who in the world had devoted themselves to study, whether they could see anyone here with me, or anything in his hand. They all said that they could see nothing at all. Then I put the question to those who came from the west and north. These were those who in the world had taken on trust what learned people said. They too said they could not see anything. However, the last of this group, those who in the world had had a simple faith based on charity, or in other words possessed some truth from good, said, after the first-comers had gone, that they could see a man with a piece of paper, the man in fine clothing and the paper with letters written on it. When they looked closely, they said they could read, The marriage of good and truth. So they addressed the angel, requesting him to tell them what this meant.

[3] He said that everything in the whole of heaven and everything in the whole of the world is from creation nothing but the marriage of good and truth. This is because every single thing, both those that live and breathe as well as those that do not, comes from the marriage of good and truth and was created for that purpose. Nothing exists created to be truth alone, nor to be good alone. Neither of these is anything taken by itself, but by marriage they come into existence and become such as is the nature of the marriage. In the Divine-Human God the Creator Divine good and Divine truth are present in their very substance. The being of His substance is Divine good, the coming-into-being of this substance is Divine truth, and they are in a state of complete union, for in Him they make up one to an infinite degree. Since these two are one in God the Creator Himself, they are therefore also one in every single thing created by Him. By this too the Creator is linked with all things created by Him in an everlasting covenant as of marriage.

[4] The angel went on to say that the Sacred Scripture, which was dictated by the Divine-Human, is in general and in its parts a marriage of good and truth (see above 248-253). Since the church, being formed by means of the truths of doctrine, and religion, being formed by good deeds in life in accordance with the truths of doctrine, are in the case of Christians solely derived from the Sacred Scripture, it can be established that the church too in general and in its parts is a marriage of good and truth. The same as has been said here about the marriage of good and truth applies also to the marriage of charity and faith, since good relates to charity, truth to faith.

After making this speech the angel left the earth and traveling through the cloud went up into heaven. Then as he went up the paper began to shine as before, changing at each stage of the ascent. Then the ring of radiance which previously looked like the dawn came down and dispersed the cloud which had darkened the earth, and the sun shone. (TCR 624)  Climbing to our First Heaven by means of Spiritual-Natural Correspondences

We have a celestial mind and its operations respond exactly like the operations of the inhabitants of the Third Heaven. They are the same because our celestial mind is in the Third Heaven in terms of its constructions and state of operation. Similarly, our spiritual mind responds in unison with the Second Heaven and our natural mind responds in unison with the First Heaven. The proof of this is seen when we enter the world of spirits at resuscitation from the first death. When shortly after we experience the second death we leave the world of spirits and enter either heaven or hell. If heaven, we enter that heaven which supports the character level we brought with us from earth. If our mind has been regenerated to the celestial degree, we enter the Third Heaven, if to the spiritual degree, we enter the Second Heaven, and if to the natural degree, we enter the First Heaven. Similarly with entering hell, since there is a corresponding hell to every heaven given that a particular hell is just the opposite or inversion of a particular heaven.

What does it mean to say that we are regenerated to the celestial level, or to the spiritual level, and natural level? This needs to be understood before we can see the whole picture rationally and clearly, and to understand the basic scientific revelation in the Writings of Swedenborg, namely, the formula "mental world=spiritual world=immortality.

Since the spiritual world=the human mind, every individual has layers of heavens and layers of hell in the mind. Each layer refers to our consciousness level, or the depth of rational understanding, of the correspondences coming down from Divine Speech and spreading across the human mind of every individual regardless of place or time. When the sentences of Divine Speech reach the natural-rational and sensuous correspondences below the First Heaven, they form the text of Sacred Scripture in the letter of some natural language on earth. This entire process of descent of Divine Speech can be reconstructed by the method of correspondences described in the Writings. We can thereby elevate our rational consciousness of God by understanding ever higher correspondences derived from the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

First we go from the natural correspondences of the letter of Sacred Scripture to the spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture in the First Heaven. Our understanding is thus enlightened to the first degree of our heavens in the mind. We see the interior spiritual truths within natural ideas of truth about God and regeneration. The Divine Psychologist responds by immersing us in natural temptations by which we agonize over what we believe and what we doubt about our religious doctrines and the moral principles by which we live. We are tempted sore to give in to attitudes and beliefs that make it easier for us, more comfortable, giving us permission to continue enjoying this or that evil we still love. But the temptations bring us face to face with the knowledge of consequences. We see with horror that it is the hells we love and that this love is what makes us doubt the truth we can understand. This new realization is only possible if we elevate our rational understanding of Sacred Scripture to the level of the interior-natural, also called the spiritual-natural level of understanding.

By overcoming our natural temptations we develop a moral character that lives in the First Heaven. All the people Swedenborg met in the First Heaven were "angelic spirits," which means good and decent people who came from earth with angelic traits in which they can now have eternal happiness. People in the First Heaven spend their eternity in cities in which they have an occupation and pace of life that is maximally suitable to their character and inherent interests which include singing, dancing, dramatic presentations, celebrations, sports, and readings. These activities sound surprisingly like those the majority of people enjoy on earth, but we must realize that they are entirely different.

Remember that the First Heaven is a mental construction and therefore it is pure, while these activities on earth are not pure but mixed with ugliness, evil, danger, and unhappiness. No such feelings or events can occur in a mental heaven that is purified from all evil connections. Remember also that the objects in these activates are completely different. On earth, a ball game involves physical balls and posts and weather, but in the First Heaven, these objects are instantaneously created upon demand by the minds of the people who are involved. Everything is created instantaneously and perfectly--the venue, the weather, the visibility where you sit, the ball, the ground condition, etc. Everything is idealized like on a virtual holodeck in Star Trek or the Matrix.

All these rational phenomena in the First Heaven of our mind are created by the spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture. We can now elevate our mind to the Second Heaven by immersing our understanding in the spiritual-rational correspondences within Sacred Scripture. When we do this God responds by facing us with spiritual temptations.  Climbing to our Second Heaven by means of Spiritual-Rational Correspondences

We have won the battle of morality and conscience, and we are upright citizens and parents in the First Heaven of our mind. But some people want more than this. They want their heaven to be more concerned with truth and God, with spiritual doctrine and rational understanding of our relationship to God. For them it's not enough to be moral. They want to be spiritual and be immersed in higher order thoughts and consciousness of reality. They immerse their understanding of Sacred Scripture in its spiritual-rational correspondences. Their level of thinking is elevated to a new platform of rational consciousness of God and reality. They can now see how God governs everything by means of rational laws of Providence and Permissions. They are delighted by the intricacies of the models which describe how God works. They have reached their happiness and joy in the Second Heaven of their mind.

God responds by facing them with celestial temptations.  Climbing to our Third Heaven by means of Celestial-Rational Correspondences

Celestial temptations are attacks against our loves. The earlier spiritual temptations were attacks against our truths. The still earlier natural temptations were attacks against our morality and commitments. Now we experience celestial temptations with devastating facts about ourselves that become apparent to our awareness. We may be moral and upright, and know much about God and doctrine, and yet we still enjoy impure loves that are from hell. For instance, we give in to laziness at the expense of others. Or, we allow ourselves to neglect some people to whom we are responsible so that we can continue doing what we are pursuing for ourselves. Or we may express harshness in our reaction to someone and not care much about the pain it causes them. Or we may love our work and duties more than we love our spouse or children. All celestial temptations bring us to failures of love and caring for others.

In order to overcome celestial temptations we can no longer rely solely on our knowledge of spiritual-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture. We need to immerse our understanding in celestial-rational correspondences so that we are victorious over our temptations regarding love. We need to elevate our conscious understanding to our Third Heaven in order to allow love for the Divine-Human to be our ruling love. When we are in our Third Heaven we have dethroned all prior attachments of love and made them subordinate to the one ruling love of the Divine-Human. From this love God can now give us the maximum human potential possible. Swedenborg talked to the inhabitants of the Third Heaven. He reports that their intelligence and wisdom is so far above the intelligence of the Second Heaven that it is incomprehensible and "ineffable" to them. When we are in our Third Heaven we do not need to reflect upon truth, doctrine, or science. We instantaneously perceive the knowledge or answer for anything that our love is curious about.

The journey of spiritual development is now available to every individual by studying the inner levels of meaning in the hierarchical correspondences of Sacred Scripture.

12.0.8  Three Degrees of Regeneration by Temptations

Have you ever asked yourself rationally the question "What is immortality?" Sure, an easy answer would be: Immortality is to live forever. This is correct. But if we think about this answer rationally we immediately want to know: Where and how? Unless we can clearly specify the where and how of immortality, it remains something distant that we cannot attach our life to. The one thing we can rely on is our understanding of truth, and this requires clarity or spiritual light. This spiritual light becomes operational in you as soon as you focus your conscious attention on the level of thinking and meaning by which your spiritual mind operates. This doesn't mean that you can become conscious of the operations in your spiritual mind as long as you are on earth. But it means modifying the way we think in the natural mind, where we are conscious, so it reflects more nearly the operations of the spiritual mind. When we modify the way we think and feel, we are being regenerated.

Each of the three organic minds must be regenerated, that is, rearranged into a new order that fits the spiritual order as revealed by Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech. The natural mind contains feelings, thoughts, and sensations. These operations are unregenerate at birth so that we have tendencies and beliefs that contradict the Divine revelations of substantive dualism. The natural mind must be rearranged to agree with moral rules. The natural mind can be regenerated to correspond to the spiritual mind by going beyond moral rules to spiritual rules. All spiritual rules are based on Divine Commandments and obeyed or performed for the sake of the afterlife. You can see that some people are not willing to consider Divine Commandments as their overarching guide in life. They are content in being moral and responsible citizens. They are regenerated to the natural degree, which means that third conscious mental operations are spiritual in the lowest degree. They enter and inhabit the First Heaven and are called "good spirits" or "angelic spirits." They are as happy as it's possible for them to be, but they also realize that there are people higher than they in consciousness that live in the Second Heaven.

But those who are willing first to be moral and responsible, then, to continue being so from a spiritual motive, can be regenerated to the spiritual degree in their natural mind. This second level rearrangement of the natural mind is more interior, more spiritual. The motives are spiritual. This requires that they understand that God exists, that they connect their conscience to God, that they study Divine Speech and its rationality, and finally, that they be willing to undergo spiritual temptations and resist. These are different from moral temptations, which we experience during the regeneration of the lowest part of the natural mind. To regenerate the natural mind still deeper God brings to every individual at just the right time, a specific experience by which our spiritual motives are tempted, that is, doubted.

For example, we hear someone else we think is very intelligent say that there is no God, heaven and hell, and that religion is made up to keep people from misbehaving. And we experience a jolt of doubt: Maybe they are right and you have been naive to believe it all. This doubt is a spiritual temptation. It is higher or deeper than a moral temptation, as for instance, when we want to cheat on our tax returns. Another spiritual temptation might be to read in Sacred Scripture that God gets angry at us for sinning, and then to conclude on that basis that God isn't really perfect. This is a spiritual temptation because Sacred Scripture in many places asserts that God is perfect. We can resolve this spiritual temptation by developing more rational ways of reading Sacred Scripture. In this instance, we can realize that God is said to be angry because He appears that way to people who are experiencing the painful consequences of misbehaving and acting contrary to God's Commandments. They are attributing their pain and suffering to God's punishment, so they see God as angry.

Those who are willing to undergo spiritual temptations, and resist or conquer in them, are then prepared for a still deeper regeneration of their natural mind. The Divine-Human brings to them a series of perfectly timed experiences in which they are tempted at the celestial degree and are willing to resist. Once they resist as-if of their own free will and effort, God delivers them from this connection with their deep hells. The temptation is a device God uses to bring our focus to a particular issue in our life, which is, whether or not we are willing to remain connected to the hells. Some of these connections we inherited and some we have acquired ourselves by the choices we made and loved. Temptations are essential mechanisms for being delivered from our hellish traits. A celestial temptation might be to doubt that love is higher than truth. The spiritual level of thinking in the natural mind orients towards truth rather than love. Celestial temptations are necessary to realign our attachments and to make love or charity to be the first in our life, and truth or faith, a servant to love.

It is God who conquers in all temptations. This is obvious when you consider that temptations are revelations of our connections to hell. The Writings reveal that any part of hell receives the support of all other parts of hell, so that when we fight a hell in us, we fight the entire hells, and only infinite Divine power can fight against all the hells, and conquer. But the Divine power cannot remove our connections to hell until we are willing to resist as if from our own effort and freedom. Then God puts the hells down in us and raises us to the heavens. The feeling of relief after resisting temptations is a consequence of the angels approaching closer and influencing our affective organ with good feelings and wise thoughts.

We can resist spiritual and celestial temptations only through spiritual truths or rational reasonings based on Sacred Scripture. The Writings of Swedenborg reveal how God Incarnate, as a Divine Child growing up in the Holy Land, underwent super-human temptations which allowed Him to face the entire hells, to light them up, and to compel them to obey and be ordered by means of the thoughts and feelings the Divine Child experienced. Part of the Divine Child was merely human from the mother, and part was Divine from Himself as the Human Divine God from eternity. The contact with the hells through temptations of the merely human part of the Divine Child, allowed Him to face them and to interact with them without destroying them, which would have happened had God faced them in His Human Divine. So the Incarnation was a method God used to split Himself for 33 years on earth, so that His infirm merely human part could face the hells, and order them from His Human Divine part with infinite power. This process of ordering the hells by successively elevating his merely human part until it too was one with the Divine of Himself.

This process was completed upon the death on the cross and the resurrection with the Natural Body. This Resurrected Body was made of natural components but purified, or glorified, that is, made Divine. Upon the Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven, God now was called  the Divine-Human (rather than the Human Divine as before). From then on the human race could face the hells in temptations and conquer by stepping through the mental pathways created by the Divine-Human while on earth. All this was revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg which usher the new and everlasting age of the Second Coming, an appearance of God once more, not in the physical world, but in the mental world. The activity of the Divine-Human in our mind is sometimes called the "Holy Spirit" and the intensity or effectiveness of this activity is proportional to each individual's rational consciousness or willingness to be regenerated into a heavenly person. This inner spiritual development process is more active with those who are regenerated to the celestial degree, less active with those who are regenerated only to the natural degree.

There is no entrance into heaven without regeneration, and there is no regeneration without temptations. The Divine-Human is an intimate Divine Psychologist to every human being, participating in the emergence of every thought, every feeling, and every sensation. God orders our thoughts according to the needs of our experience at any one time. Without God's active participation in our thought process, not a single person born on earth  could escape hell and heaven itself would be endangered. The entire human race would perish. Clearly, God is on another plan, to make the human race flourish to its intended celestial status and life of bliss.

There is an automatic reaction in our thinking when we read about these details regarding God's Incarnation, death, resurrection, and worship, namely, that this is religion not science.

The reason for this difficulty or conflict, I think, is that these details come from Sacred Scripture claimed as their own by the Western Judaeo-Christian tradition and religion. But none of the details are known to religion that have to do with the theistic psychology component of Sacred Scripture. If theistic psychology and religion were both based on the literal historical ethnic meaning of the sentences, then indeed there would be no difference and theistic psychology would not be a science. So it's crucial to understand that theistic psychology is not based, like religion, on the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture, but on the universal scientific meaning it carries hidden within it. This hidden meaning is a characteristic of all Divine Speech, hence the method of correspondences used in theistic psychology can be applied to all Sacred Scripture, regardless of which religion has claimed it exclusively for itself. Divine Speech has multiple layers of meaning, each layer appropriate for a specific level of the mind. The layers are carried by cognitive correspondences at different level of rational purity--celestial, spiritual, spiritual-natural, sensuous. By the time Divine Speech is translated into the sensuous-natural level of thinking, it appears as historical narrative, prophecy, and theology.

The details of what it means to enter heaven are not available at the literal meaning of sentences in Sacred Scripture. One must apply the method of correspondences in order to extract them. When this is done, all the original words of Sacred Scripture are replaced by their spiritual-rational correspondences called "signficatives" and "representatives." Once this is done, what remains is devoid of any names, places, numbers, historical events, etc. The ethnic features of the text of Sacred Scripture is gone from the reference and meaning. Instead, we have universal pan-human rational scientific knowledge about salvation and heaven--or, theistic psychology.

12.0.9  The Rational is the Beginning of Being Human

An additional way of understanding regeneration or spiritual development, is to consider the form and function of the rational operations in our mind. The Writings explain that the rational is the beginning of the human. In other words, our mental operations below the rational are animal rather than human. We share with animals many of the characteristics of the natural mind, though not all. The natural mind has three sub-levels of operation called the corporeal (the lowest), the sensuous (intermediate), and the rational (highest). Animals possess a natural mind with two sub-levels, corporeal and sensuous, depending on the evolutionary scale of the species. Chimpanzees impress us because they possess a highly developed sensuous mind which allows them to form sensuous concepts and meanings by which they can interact with humans if they are taught a mechanism of communication. But they do not possess a natural-rational level, as we do, as shown by the fact that we are unimpressed by what chimpanzees or dolphins have to say with the language they are taught. They restrict themselves to sensuous concepts and are unable to discuss with us things like the household's finances or last night's ball game. They will never be able to do this because sensuous intelligence is the highest mental operation they are capable of. This doesn't mean they cannot become useful with these communication skills, when we set up and maintain a special context for their mental abilities.

We must understand this natural-rational level of mental operation that we possess and animals do not possess. This difference between humans and animals is a matter of spiritual structure. Animals do not have a mental organ that can operate at the rational level. As a result they cannot be immortal since immortality is life in the spiritual world and the spiritual world is a world that exists inside the rational mind of human, and nowhere else. Recall that the natural mind we bring with us when crossing the bar is taken out of circulation, embalmed, and laid to rest to be called out only under special conditions, which Swedenborg was able to witness. But when we enter heaven or hell at the second death, the natural mind is withdrawn from active operation and our consciousness shifts into the purely spiritual, that is, into our deepest loves and the thoughts these loves allow or agree with.

The point to remember is that the spiritual world is a world made of rational things. Nothing of the natural corporeal or sensuous can exist there, but only spiritual ideas that correspond to these lower forms of mental operations. For example, chewing food involves corporeal knowledge and sensations. The corporeal knowledge is so close to the sensations that it becomes sub-conscious and automatic. We use this corporeal knowledge to chew and swallow and talk at the same time, which is quite a complex achievement from the sensorimotor perspective, still impossible to duplicate by a robot. We possess all sorts of corporeal knowledge in the lower portion of the natural mind which allows us to voluntarily direct the body's parts and to coordinate them, as in walking, driving, dancing, catching a ball, or dressing oneself.

This corporeal knowledge is useless in the spiritual world where we do not have a physical body but a spiritual body, which is a mental body, a body made of mental elements like the bodies that appear in our dreams. What are the bodies of these dream characters made of? Obviously not of physical matter, though they appear that way externally. They are made of mental stuff, which we now know consists of spiritual substances streaming forth from the Spiritual Sun. Our spiritual body does not need a corporeal mind, and neither does it need a sensuous mind.

Our sensuous mind operates with sensuous concepts and intelligence, that is, ideas that are based on sensations, sequence, time, space, quantity, number. For instance, very intelligent people in ancient times thought that the earth was flat, that the stars were small, that the sun revolved around our sky, and that we were the center of the universe. All these ideas or concepts and the reasoning level that uses them, are sensuous abstractions of what they were able to see about the world around them. For centuries people on this earth were stuck in that mentality, and their civilization reflected this sub-rational level of thinking. Along with this level of sensuous thinking went a corresponding way of feeling which today strikes us as barbaric, cruel, racist, and limited.

Again, the sensuous mind is useless in the spiritual world and the only part of it that remains at the second death is a symbolic version of it, just like in dreams, when we eat or run we do so symbolically, creating a sensuous image or dream that is like eating or running in the physical world. Similarly in the spiritual world. Our spiritual thoughts and feelings, operating with the spiritual mind, after our natural mind is darkened, appear to us externally all around us by correspondence. This is an automatic process in the spiritual world, given that it is a mental world. What is noteworthy and truly awesome is the fact observed countless times by Swedenborg, that the appearances which our thoughts instantiate around us, can be seen by others who are around.

This would be equivalent to your sleeping in a room while others are sitting around. Right now they can watch the sleeper dreaming but they cannot see the images of the dream. Suppose though that it would be possible for them to enter your dream--I've seen a movie like that once. They would then see what you are dreaming though you would not be able to see them. They could not see you either, but only the dream that you are fabricating. When we enter the world of spirits at death and resuscitation, a process that takes about 30 hours, where do we go? Swedenborg saw and reports that all human beings are resuscitated in view of others who are already resuscitated. The world of spirits is the world where minds are born and grow. We stay in the world of spirits for a brief time, perhaps weeks or months, and then we undergo the second death, which brings us to our permanent state of mind to eternity.

12.0.10  We All Meet in the Mind

Quoting from The Writings:

After this the angel said to them, "It is not yet noon; come with me into the garden of our prince which adjoins this palace." They went; and at the entrance the angel said, "Behold the most magnificent garden in this heavenly society."

But they replied, "What do you say? There is no garden here; we see only one tree, with what seems like fruits of gold on its branches and top, and like leaves of silver, with their edges adorned with emeralds; and under the tree we see little children with their nurses."

To this the angel with inspired voice replied, "This tree is in the midst of the garden, and is called by us the tree of our heaven, and by some the tree of life. But go on and draw nearer, and your eyes will be opened, and you will see the garden."

This they did; and their eyes were opened, and they saw trees heavily laden with delicious fruit, about which vines entwined their tendrils, and their tops were bent down with fruit toward the tree of life in the center.

[2] These trees were planted in a continuous row, which went out and on in endless circles or curves like those of a perpetual spiral; it was a perfect spiral formed by trees, wherein one species followed another in unbroken order according to the excellence of their fruit. There was quite a space between the beginning of the spiral and the tree in the center, and this space gleamed with a radiance that made the trees of the spiral beam with an unbroken and unceasing splendor from the first to the last. The first trees were the noblest of all, luxuriant with the rarest fruit; these were called trees of paradise, never having been seen in any country of the natural world, because they do not and cannot exist there. These were followed by olive trees, then those that yielded wine, then fragrant trees, and finally trees useful to workmen for the wood. Here and there in this coil of trees or spiral there were seats formed of branches of the trees behind drawn forward and interlaced and enriched and adorned with their fruits. In that perpetual circle of trees were passages opening to flower-plots, and from these to lawns, divided off into squares and beds.

[3] The companions of the angel, on seeing these things, ex-claimed, "Behold heaven in form! Wherever we turn our eyes something heavenly and paradisal meets them, which is ineffable."

The angel was delighted with these exclamations, and said, "All our heavenly gardens are representative forms or types of heavenly beatitudes in their origin, and because your minds were exalted by the influx of these beatitudes, you exclaimed, 'Behold heaven in form!' But those who do not receive that influx look upon these paradisal objects only as upon a mere forest. All who are in a love of use receive the influx; but those who are in the love of glory not from use do not receive it." Afterwards he explained and taught what was represented and signified by each thing in the garden. (TCR 741)

Swedenborg observed that not every human being is in direct view of every other human being. We are in co-presence with each other according to the similarity of our mental traits. This requirement insures the maintenance of a rational order of networking which is based on the principle that those who have a lot in common communicate with each other more directly than those who have less in common, and even less communication between those who are opposite to one another. These inner similarities did not dictate our communication network in the physical world. Both angry people and peaceful, could ride the same bus and work in the same office or service the other's car. This is because we live in an external world here on earth, with our inner loves and thoughts hidden from the view of others or even, from our own awareness.

Whom do we see when we are resuscitating? The answer is that we see whomever we want and whoever wants to see us and we feel the same. Among the heavenly inhabitants a husband and wife are always co-present, even when only one is visible to a visitor or neighbor. This is because a husband and wife in heaven are conjugial soul mates and are united as one. This cannot be separated in the spiritual world. It is noteworthy that no one can enter your house when you are not there or when you don't want to see anyone. This is because your house is an outward appearance of your inner loves and thoughts.

What's remarkable is that others can see each other's houses in heaven. Think of how utterly remarkable this is. Heaven is a state of your mind. It is your consciousness of your celestial mind, as explained above. Heaven is constructed out of your rational thoughts and feelings. How then can others who also do this in their mind, meet each other  in the heavens of the spiritual world that Swedenborg visited?

You can understand this puzzle rationally if you keep building your understanding of the fundamental formula: the anatomy of heaven in the mind = the geography of the spiritual world.

To put it in different words, the human race is united mentally so that as an individual moves higher up in consciousness others appear who are also moving up higher in their consciousness. The mind is an objective world, and this world is the spiritual world. It doesn't appear that way to us now because we are solely in the natural mind which is built up from natural concepts--corporeal, sensuous, and natural-rational abstractions. But as we move up in mental operation so that we build our consciousness and understanding more and more rationally, rather than sensuously, we begin to see others who are also building their spiritual-rational concepts or world.

It is important therefore to examine the rational aspect of human beings. As stated, the rational is the beginning of the human. But you'll note that the first rational operation we perform is in the natural mind, which is why it is called the natural-rational. For instance all our advanced systems on earth, such as science, law, and art, are natural-rational systems. They are far above the capacity of our animal level of corporeal  knowledge and sensuous observation. The natural-rational level of thinking and feeling is a noble achievement of the human mind that has given us a modern civilization and a just society. And yet it is far far below our higher rational, which is called the spiritual-rational level of intelligence or consciousness.

We need to recognize the rational, the strictly human, as the essential method for consciousness raising. What is the highest of the highest in rational consciousness? It is Divine Speech or Sacred Scripture. This issues from God's Rational Mind, which is also called Divine Love and Wisdom. In the Divine-Human infinite things make a one. The Spiritual Sun is the closest thing to God in terms of emanation or creation, and it is through the Spiritual Sun that all things in the universe are created from. In other words, if you go within anything more and more, you will find the Spiritual Sun. The inmost or first component of any created thing are substances that emanate from the Spiritual Sun. Then that thing is covered up with an intermediate structure, and finally its ultimate structure which is external and visible. This is true of every thing that exists--the inmost of it is the Spiritual Sun. This is therefore also true of the human mind which is also a created thing.

We have therefore the Spiritual Sun in the inmost level or framework of our mind. At the next level we have the celestial heaven in our mind which is the highest to which our consciousness can rise. Then below that, or external to it, is the spiritual heaven in our mind. More externally below that we have the natural heaven. Below the natural heaven is the world of spirits that serves as a birth and resuscitation state for the mind while we are on earth and immediately thereafter. The hells in our mind are below the world of spirits in descending degrees that correspond to the ascending degrees of the heavens in our mind.

We also need to think of heaven and hell in terms of operations since that's what the function of the mind is--mental operations of the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor type. When we are acquiring evil loves in our character we are creating content for our hell. That is, connection to people in particular hells who share those evil loves with us. In fact, it is their evil loves that are active in us and we experience this as our own loves since we are unaware of their source. When we are being insensitive or insincere or abusive we are practicing loves that belong to certain hells in other people's minds. This is why popular wisdom recognizes that you are according to the company you keep.

Practicing evil traits means that we are creating direct networking lines with other people who are also practicing the same type of evil traits, and they are in the hells of their mind. Our mind is influenced by other minds and the line of influence depends on what traits we are practicing and loving. If we practice heavenly traits we are establishing communication and connection or influence with others who are also practicing heavenly traits. In fact, Swedenborg reports that when people ascend to their heaven they experience the feeling of 'deja vu' and they embrace the people already there as brothers and sisters and neighbors. Everyone seems extremely familiar even though we see them for the first time. This is because we had already been with them prior to our conscious arrival there.

In summary, we raise our consciousness all the way to heaven, or lower it all the way down to hell, by means of the character traits we practice and love. Every trait involves the mind in its threefold self structure. A trait has therefore an affective component, an associated cognitive component, and a resultant sensorimotor component.

We are now ready to examine heavenly and hellish traits.


12.1  Altruism or the Love of Being Useful


HH 31.

31. The Divine which inflows from the Lord and is received in the third or inmost heaven is called celestial, and in consequence, the angels there are called celestial angels. The Divine inflowing from the Lord and received in the second or middle heaven is called spiritual, and in consequence, the angels there are called spiritual angels. Whereas, the Divine inflowing from the Lord and received in the outermost or first heaven is called natural. But, because the natural of that heaven is not like the natural of the world but has in it the spiritual and the celestial, therefore that heaven is called spiritual- and celestial-natural, and in consequence, the angels there are called spiritual-natural and celestial-natural.# Those who receive influx from the middle or second heaven, which is the spiritual heaven, are called spiritual-natural, and those who receive influx from the third or inmost heaven, which is the celestial heaven, are called celestial- natural. The spiritual-natural and the celestial-natural angels are distinct from each other, but yet they constitute one heaven because they are in one degree.

# There are three heavens, the inmost, the middle, and the outermost, or the third, the second, and the first (n. 684, 9594, 10270); and the goods there follow also in a threefold order (n. 4938, 4939, 9992, 10005, 10017). The good of the inmost or third heaven is called celestial; the good of the middle or second heaven spiritual; and the good of the outermost or first heaven spiritual-natural (n. 4279, 4286, 4938, 4939, 9992, 10005, 10017, 10068).

HH 391.

391. As all the societies in the heavens are distinct in accordance with their goods (as said above, n. 41, seq.) so they are distinct in accordance with their uses, goods being goods in act, that is, goods of charity which are uses. Some societies are employed in taking care of little children; others in teaching and training them as they grow up; others in teaching and training in like manner the boys and girls that have acquired a good disposition from their education in the world, and in consequence have come into heaven. There are other societies that teach the simple good from the Christian world, and lead them into the way to heaven; there are others that in like manner teach and lead the various heathen nations. There are some societies that defend from infestations by evil spirits the newly arrived spirits that have just come from the world; there are some that attend upon the spirits that are in the lower earth; also some that attend upon spirits that are in the hells, and restrain them from tormenting each other beyond prescribed limits; and there are some that attend upon those who are being raised from the dead. In general, angels from each society are sent to men to watch over them and to lead them away from evil affections and consequent thoughts, and to inspire them with good affections so far as they will receive them in freedom; and by means of these they also direct the deeds or works of men by removing as far as possible evil intentions. When angels are with men they dwell as it were in their affections; and they are near to man just in the degree in which he is in good from truths, and are distant from him just in the degree in which his life is distant from good.# But all these employments of angels are employments of the Lord through the angels, for the angels perform them from the Lord and not from themselves. For this reason, in the Word in its internal sense "angels" mean, not angels, but something belonging to the Lord; and for the same reason angels are called "gods" in the Word.##

# Of the angels that are with little children and afterwards with boys, and thus in succession (n. 2303).

Man is raised from the dead by means of angels; from experiences (n. 168-189).

Angels are sent to those who are in hell to prevent their tormenting each other beyond measure (n. 967).

Of the services rendered by the angels to men on their coming into the other life (n. 2131).

There are spirits and angels with all men and man is led by the Lord by means of spirits and angels (n. 50, 697, 2796, 2887, 2888, 5846-5866, 5976-5993, 6209).

Angels have dominion over evil spirits (n. 1755).

## In the Word by angels something Divine from the Lord is signified (n. 1925, 2821, 3039, 4085, 6280, 8192).

In the Word angels are called "gods," because of their reception of Divine truth and good from the Lord (n. 4295, 4402, 8192, 8301).

HH 392.

392. These employments of the angels are their general employments; but each one has his particular charge; for every general use is composed of innumerable uses which are called mediate, ministering, and subservient uses, all and each coordinated and subordinated in accordance with Divine order, and taken together constituting and perfecting the general use, which is the general good.

HH 393.

393. Those are concerned with ecclesiastical affairs in heaven who in the world loved the Word and eagerly sought in it for truths, not with honor or gain as an end, but uses of life both for themselves and for others. These in heaven are in enlightenment and in the light of wisdom in the measure of their love and desire for use; and this light of wisdom they receive from the Word in heaven, which is not a natural Word, as it is in the world, but a spiritual Word (see above, n. 259.) These minister in the preaching office; and in accordance with Divine order those are in higher positions who from enlightenment excel others in wisdom. [2] Those are concerned with civil affairs who in the world loved their country, and loved its general good more than their own, and did what is just and right from a love for what is just and right. So far as these from the eagerness of love have investigated the laws of justice and have thereby become intelligent, they have the ability to perform such functions in heaven, and they perform these in that position or degree that accords with their intelligence, their intelligence being in equal degree with their love of use for the general good. [3] Furthermore, there are in heaven more functions and services and occupations than can be enumerated; while in the world there are few in comparison. But however many there may be that are so employed, they are all in the delight of their work and labor from a love of use, and no one from a love of self or of gain; and as all the necessaries of life are furnished them gratuitously they have no love of gain for the sake of a living. They are housed gratuitously, clothed gratuitously, and fed gratuitously. Evidently, then, those that have loved themselves and the world more than use have no lot in heaven; for his love or affection remains with everyone after his life in the world, and is not extirpated to eternity (see above, n. 563).

HH 394.

394. In heaven everyone comes into his own occupation in accordance with correspondence, and the correspondence is not with the occupation but with the use of each occupation (see above, n. 112); for there is a correspondence of all things (see n. 106). He that in heaven comes into the employment or occupation corresponding to his use is in much the same condition of life as when he was in the world; since what is spiritual and what is natural make one by correspondences; yet there is this difference, that he then comes into an interior delight, because into spiritual life, which is an interior life, and therefore more receptive of heavenly blessedness.

HH 395.


Hardly any one at present knows what heaven is or what heavenly joy is. Those who have given any thought to these subjects have had so general and so gross an idea about them as scarcely to amount to anything. From spirits that have come from the world into the other life I have been able to learn fully what idea they had of heaven and heavenly joy; for when left to themselves, as they were in the world, they think as they then did. There is this ignorance about heavenly joy for the reason that those who have thought about it have formed their opinion from the outward joys pertaining to the natural man, and have not known what the inner and spiritual man is, nor in consequence the nature of his delight and blessedness; and therefore even if they had been told by those who are in spiritual or inward delight what heavenly joy is, would have had no comprehension of it, for it could have fallen only into an idea not yet recognized, thus into no perception; and would therefore have been among the things that the natural man rejects. Yet everyone can understand that when a man leaves his outer or natural man he comes into the inner or spiritual man, and consequently can see that heavenly delight is internal and spiritual, not external and natural; and being internal and spiritual, it is more pure and exquisite, and affects the interiors of man which pertain to his soul or spirit. From these things alone everyone may conclude that his delight is such as the delight of his spirit has previously been and that the delight of the body, which is called the delight of the flesh, is in comparison not heavenly; also that whatever is in the spirit of man when he leaves the body remains after death, since he then lives a man-spirit.

HH 399.

399. One can see how great the delight of heaven must be from the fact that it is the delight of everyone in heaven to share his delights and blessings with others; and as such is the character of all that are in the heavens it is clear how immeasurable is the delight of heaven. It has been shown above (n. 268), that in the heavens there is a sharing of all with each and of each with all. Such sharing goes forth from the two loves of heaven, which are, as has been said, love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor; and to share their delights is the very nature of these loves. Love to the Lord is such because the Lord's love is a love of sharing everything it has with all, since it wills the happiness of all. There is a like love in everyone of those who love the Lord, because the Lord is in them; and from this comes the mutual sharing of the delights of angels with one another. Love towards the neighbor is of such a nature, as will be seen in what follows. All this shows that it is the nature of these loves to share their delights. It is otherwise with the loves of self and of the world. The love of self takes away from others and robs others of all delight, and directs it to itself, for it wishes well to itself alone; while the love of the world wishes to have as its own what belongs to the neighbor. Therefore these loves are destructive of the delights of others; or if there is any disposition to share, it is for the sake of themselves and not for the sake of others. Thus in respect to others it is the nature of those loves not to share but to take away, except so far as the delights of others have some relation to self. That the loves of self and of the world, when they rule, are such I have often been permitted to perceive by living experience. Whenever the spirits that were in these loves during their life as men in the world drew near, my delight receded and vanished; and I was told that at the mere approach of such to any heavenly society the delight of those in the society diminished just in the degree of their proximity; and what is wonderful, the evil spirits are then in their delight. All this indicates the state of the spirit of such a man while he is in the body, since it is the same as it is after it is separated from the body, namely, that it longs for or lusts after the delights or goods of another, and finds delight so far as it secures them. All this makes clear that the loves of self and of the world tend to destroy the joys of heaven, and are thus direct opposites of heavenly loves, which desire to share.

HH 401.

401. One who is in the love of self and love of the world perceives while he lives in the body a sense of delight from these loves and also in the particular pleasures derived from these loves. But one who is in love to God and in love towards the neighbor does not perceive while he lives in the body any distinct sense of delight from these loves or from the good affections derived from them, but only a blessedness that is hardly perceptible, because it is hidden away in his interiors and veiled by the exteriors pertaining to the body and dulled by the cares of the world. But after death these states are entirely changed. The delights of love of self and of the world are then turned into what is painful and direful, because into such things as are called infernal fire, and by turns into things defiled and filthy corresponding to their unclean pleasures, and these, wonderful to tell, are then delightful to them. But the obscure delight and almost imperceptible blessedness of those that had been while in the world in love to God and in love to the neighbor are then turned into the delight of heaven, and become in every way perceived and felt, for the blessedness that lay hidden and unrecognized in their interiors while they lived in the world is then revealed and brought forth into evident sensation, because such had been the delight of their spirit, and they are then in the spirit.

HH 402.

402. In uses all the delights of heaven are brought together and are present, because uses are the goods of love and charity in which angels are; therefore everyone has delights that are in accord with his uses, and in the degree of his affection for use. That all the delights of heaven are delights of use can be seen by a comparison with the five bodily senses of man. There is given to each sense a delight in accordance with its use; to the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, and the touch, each its own delight; to the sight a delight from beauty and from forms, to the hearing from harmonious sounds, to the smell from pleasing odors, to taste from fine flavors. These uses which the senses severally perform are known to those who study them, and more fully to those who are acquainted with correspondences. Sight has such a delight because of the use it performs to the understanding, which is the inner sight; the hearing has such a delight because of the use it performs both to the understanding and to the will through giving attention; the smell has such a delight because of the use it performs to the brain, and also to the lungs; the taste has such a delight because of the use it performs to the stomach, and thus to the whole body by nourishing it. The delight of marriage, which is a purer and more exquisite delight of touch, transcends all the rest because of its use, which is the procreation of the human race and thereby of angels of heaven. These delights are in these sensories by an influx of heaven, where every delight pertains to use and is in accordance with use.

HH 402.

402. In uses all the delights of heaven are brought together and are present, because uses are the goods of love and charity in which angels are; therefore everyone has delights that are in accord with his uses, and in the degree of his affection for use. That all the delights of heaven are delights of use can be seen by a comparison with the five bodily senses of man. There is given to each sense a delight in accordance with its use; to the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, and the touch, each its own delight; to the sight a delight from beauty and from forms, to the hearing from harmonious sounds, to the smell from pleasing odors, to taste from fine flavors. These uses which the senses severally perform are known to those who study them, and more fully to those who are acquainted with correspondences. Sight has such a delight because of the use it performs to the understanding, which is the inner sight; the hearing has such a delight because of the use it performs both to the understanding and to the will through giving attention; the smell has such a delight because of the use it performs to the brain, and also to the lungs; the taste has such a delight because of the use it performs to the stomach, and thus to the whole body by nourishing it. The delight of marriage, which is a purer and more exquisite delight of touch, transcends all the rest because of its use, which is the procreation of the human race and thereby of angels of heaven. These delights are in these sensories by an influx of heaven, where every delight pertains to use and is in accordance with use.



12.2  Character Virtues


"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which
difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." (John Quincy Adams)


12.3  Chastity and Conjugial Love


12.4   Wisdom of Innocence


12.5  Wisdom of Old Age



12.6  Selfishness or the Love of Domineering



12.6.1  Human Freedom--Heavenly and Hellish


Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

Few know what freedom is and what non-freedom is. Freedom seems to entail everything that is in keeping with any love and associated delight, and non-freedom to entail everything that is at variance with these. That which is in keeping with self-love and love of the world, and with the desires belonging to those loves, seems to man to be freedom; but that is the freedom of hell. That however which is in keeping with love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour, consequently with the love of what is good and true, is true freedom, being the freedom that exists in heaven. (AC 2870)

Spirits in hell do not know of the existence of any other freedom than that which goes with self-love and love of the world, that is, with the desires to exercise control over others, to persecute, and to hate all who do not serve them, to torment everyone, to destroy for their own ends if they could the whole world, and to carry away and claim for themselves whatever belongs to another.

While gratifying these and similar desires they are enjoying what to them is freedom, for they are attaining what is their delight. Their life consists in that freedom to such an extent that if it is taken away from them no more life is left to them than that of a new-born child. This has also been shown to me through an actual experience. A certain evil spirit was convinced that such things could be taken away from him, and that if they were he could enter heaven, and that consequently his life could be miraculously transformed into heavenly life. His loves and the desires belonging to these were therefore taken away from him - which is done in the next life by dissociation.  [ i.e. by breaking the links which an angel or spirit has with others like himself ]

He now looked like a small child floating around, scarcely able to move its hands. He was at the same time in such a state that he was able to think even less than any infant, being totally unable to speak anything at all or to know anything. But shortly he was restored to his own delight and thus freedom. From this it was evident that it is impossible for anyone to enter heaven who has acquired life for himself from self-love and love of the world, and whose freedom consequently rests in these. For if that life were taken away from such a person he would not have any thought or will at all remaining in him. (AC 2871)

These two passages show why it is not possible for God to eliminate the hells and bring all those miserable people into heaven. The only way God could do this is by removing their freedom to do what they love since in heaven it is not possible to think, do, or enjoy evil. But if their freedom to do what they love is taken away from them, they would not be in heaven but in another hell, much worse than before, as demonstrated by the individual in the passage above, whose freedom to do evil was removed, and consequently lapsed into a stupid stupor, until his freedom was restored, and he was back in his former hell.

The passage also shows how Swedenborg was given experimental techniques to study the human mind in the world of spirits. The technique described above is called "dissociation" which involves cutting off contact with particular evil spirits who are normally associated with the individual. It is a universal law that no one in the natural and spiritual worlds, is able to have affections and thoughts from self, but only in association with other spirits. This is called the "vertical community" (see Section xx). When anyone is cut off from the vertical community, even for a moment, the individual lapses into a stupor or coma, unable to have a single thoughts or feeling--as in the experimental case described above.

Continuing with the next passage:

The freedom that exists in heaven however originates in the Lord. All angels in heaven possess it. It goes, as has been stated, with love to the Lord and with mutual love, and so with an affection for what is good and true. The nature of this freedom becomes clear from the fact that everyone who possesses it communicates from inmost affection his own blessedness and happiness to another, and that to him it is also blessedness and happiness to be able to communicate these things. And because all the angels in heaven are like this, every angel is consequently the focal point of the forms of blessedness and happiness of all, and all are at the same time recipients of those of each individual. This communication itself is effected by the Lord by means of wondrous inflowings within a form beyond one's comprehension which is the heavenly form. This shows what heavenly freedom is and that it originates in the Lord alone. (AC 2872)

Heavenly freedom is the love of sharing one's happiness with others. It is a remarkable fact that when we ascend to the heaven of our mind we are imbued with the passion to share whatever good we have with others, so that in a heavenly society every individual communicates their own happiness to everyone else in that society. In this way each is enriched by the goods of others, multiplying greatly the happiness of each and all. The larger a heavenly society, the more each individual is enriched by the happiness of all who are there. At it doesn't stop with the community itself for the happiness of the society is communicated to surrounding societies in a giant ripple effect that spreads to the universal heavens. In other words, when we ascend to our heaven in the mind, our happiness is communicated to all human beings who are also in the heaven of their mind. Though heaven is in each individual's mind it is not a place where we are alone. All those who share similar affections seem to themselves to be together as if they were living in a heavenly city. We form "heavenly societies" with those who have a heaven filled with loves similar to ours. The same applies to all the people who are in the hells of their mind. In this way God insures that the entire human race is always integrated in their loves, acting together, never alone. It is said in the Writings that to God the entire human race is as one individual, which is another way of referring to the integration of all loves in the human race.

But it is either as one angelic and well formed  individual or as a hellish and monstrous individual, since the loves of these two cannot mix but destroy each other, as indicated in these two passages:

Just how far removed heavenly freedom is which flows from the affection for good and truth from the freedom of hell which flows from the affection for evil and falsity becomes clear from the fact that angels in heaven are instantly seized by pain within at the mere thought of such freedom as flows from the affection for evil and falsity, or what amounts to the same, from the desires that belong to self-love and love of the world. And conversely at the mere thought of the freedom that flows from the affection for good and truth, or what amounts to the same, from the desires that belong to mutual love, evil spirits instantly feel intense pains. And what is remarkable, the one type of freedom is so much the contrary of the other that for good spirits the freedom which goes with self-love and love of the world is hell, while conversely for evil spirits the freedom that goes with love to the Lord and with mutual love is hell.

Therefore all in the next life are distinguished according to their different kinds of freedom, or what amounts to the same, according to their different kinds of love and affection, and consequently according to their delights of life, which is the same as saying according to their lives, since people's lives consist in nothing else than delights, and these delights in nothing else than the affections which go with people's loves. (AC 2873)

It has been frequently stated and shown above that the universal angelic heaven is in the sight of the Lord as one man who is His image and likeness, and that the universal hell is in opposition to it as one monstrous man. (DP 190)

It is a remarkable fact that the sense of freedom we have comes from willing what we love. When we are allowed to choose or enjoy what we love, we feel that we are in freedom, and we are happy. Human happiness depends on this feeling of freedom, and freedom depends on choosing what we love, as explained next:

From this it is now evident what freedom is - namely thinking and willing from one's affection - and that the specific nature of one's freedom is the same as that of one's affection; also that the one kind of freedom is hellish, and the other heavenly; and that the former comes from hell, but the latter from the Lord. It is also evident that people with hellish freedom cannot enter into heavenly freedom - for this would amount to passing from hell into heaven - unless the whole of their life is taken away from them; also that nobody can enter into heavenly freedom without being reformed by the Lord, and that when being reformed he is brought to it by means of the affection for what is good and true, that is, by means of goodness of life that has the truth of doctrine implanted in it.  (AC 2874)

Changing our character from hellish to heavenly involves compelling ourselves to act against our freedom, because we are in our infernal loves from heredity, and so we don't want to stop enjoying hellish things and start enjoying heavenly things. Regeneration is a painful process because it requires that we act against what we love when we love evil. We resist exchanging our evil enjoyments for heavenly ones because we feel that we are giving up our freedom to choose what we love. We feel oppressed and restrained, having to enjoy some heavenly love that we actually do not like. The only way we can accomplish a character makeover successfully is to compel ourselves to act according to our doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. When we make this effort as-of self, God then removes the enjoyment of infernal loves so that we can come into the happiness of loving heavenly loves.

Note carefully that we must have doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. Lots of doctrines, philosophies, and lifestyles are around, and many there are who follow them and makes choices according to them. So it's important to know from theistic psychology that we have no power to stop loving evil enjoyments. It is not possible, any more than to lift yourself from your bootstraps (the straps will tear and you will remain on the ground). God is omnipotent, which means no one and nothing has any power. If someone or something had any power, God would not be omnipotent. This is just logical necessity.

12.6.2  The Necessity of Putting up the Effort As-of Self

As explained elsewhere (see Section xx), God makes it appear that we act from ourselves since this feeling of freedom is necessary for human happiness, and without happiness, there is no heaven. God must therefore insure that we have an "as-of self" by which there is the appearance that we act from ourselves. Similarly, God makes it appear that animals move on their own, and electrons seem to have kinetic power of their own. Again, omnipotence requires that it is God who activates the electron and keeps it going, and it is God who provides the strength to stand or sit, whichever we choose.

Hence it is that we have no power to change our character or to say no to a temptation. But God has revealed that He stands ready to power and activate anything we choose, within limits He specifies. If we live by a philosophy or lifestyle that is from ourselves or from some other individual, we are operating at the limits that God has specified. Certain things God will cooperate with us even then, but not certain other things. For instance, God will activate our body motions when we choose to do something that is evil like injuring somebody. This is within God's Laws of Permissions (see Section xx). God will not cooperate when He can't turn the action into something good for both the perpetrator and the victim. So sometimes evil intentions succeed and sometimes not.

When it comes to character change from hellish to heavenly, God will not cooperate outside the limits He has specified. God has specified in Sacred Scripture that we must use Sacred Scripture to direct our lives and to resist temptations and doing evil. He will cooperate when we (a) learn our doctrine from Sacred Scripture, and (b) use the doctrine of truth to combat as-of self our enjoyment of evil and our resistance to give it up. It must be as-of self for we must put up the effort of resisting the enjoyment of our evil traits. It is required that we resist our evil traits as-of self, and at the same time, looking to God for supplying the power. This is what it means to act according to our doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture.

The Writings say that God insures that every society on the planet has a religion from which all children are taught about God and about the commandments of living. This gives everyone a free choice to submit to God's will or to go it on their own or to follow some other leader or guide.

This next Number give us important details about how God cooperates to act when we have "doctrine of truth" in our memory from prior learning. We are responsible for learning the doctrine of truth. Once it is in our memory from rational understanding, God evokes our principle in some choice situation and suddenly we are thinking about it as we are deciding and choosing.

Goodness of life, or the affection for good, is instilled by the Lord by means of an internal way, without the person being at all aware of it, whereas the truth of doctrine, or faith, is instilled by an external way and introduced into the memory. From there it is called forth by the Lord in His own time and according to His own order and is joined to the affection for good. This happens in that person's freedom, for a person's freedom, as has been stated, flows from his affection. This is how faith is implanted and takes root. Whatever is done in freedom is joined to him, but that which is done under compulsion is not. This may become clear from the fact that nothing can possibly be joined to a person unless he has an affection for it. Affection is that which actually receives, and anything received that is contrary to his affection is contrary to his life. From this it is evident that the truth of doctrine, or faith, is incapable of being received except by the affection for it. But as is the affection so is the reception. It is the affection for truth and good, this alone, that receives the truth of faith, for they accord with each other, and because they accord they join themselves together. (AC 2875)

Let's list in sequence what the above passage explains:

(i) God puts the "truth of doctrine" into our understanding when we exert as-of self effort to learn the truths of life taught in Sacred Scripture, and we thus acquire knowledge from theistic psychology ("truth of doctrine instilled by an external way"). This is a conscious effort of our own that God makes successful.

(ii) While this is happening in the cognitive organ at the conscious level, God unconsciously activates our affective organ, an action which we experience consciously as an attraction or love for these principles of truth from Sacred Scripture ("affection for good is instilled in an internal way").

(iii) God joins together, as in a marriage, the knowledge of truth from Sacred Scripture and the love we have for it. This conjoining by God of our doctrine of truth and our love for it, generates the feeling that we choose in freedom what we love. We reject the hellish preference because it is contrary to our doctrine of truth or principle of action. The doctrine of truth is our own to the extent that we understand rationally. Choosing our own is freedom. If the we do not understand the doctrine of truth in a rational way, it is not our own but external to our own. Then if we choose good over bad we feel that we are compelled to do so by some eternal agency not our own. In that case God cannot give power to the truth we know. Many times we know what is the right thing to do, but we cannot make ourselves do it. In other words, God does not supply the power. Why not? Because God must wait until (a) we understand the doctrine of truth rationally so that it is our own, and (b) we love it. Then God will supply the power to do the right thing, but not otherwise. These are the limits within which God works with us, as revealed in Sacred Scripture.

(iv) Doctrine of truth is also called "faith" here but in the Writings "faith" always means "rational faith" not "blind faith." Rational faith is the same as theistic psychology. Only if you love truth from Sacred Scripture can God withhold you from the enjoyment of evil traits. If you do not love truth from Sacred Scripture, God cannot withhold you from continuing to choose evil.

Knowing theistic psychology by itself does not give you the ability to change your character. You must see it as Divine truth that you love. First, you must acknowledge that theistic psychology is Divine truth, then God gives you the ability to understand it rationally. If you love what you understand rationally, God can conjoin your understanding and your will in a marriage of action. This gives you success in achieving character change.

Note also the role of freedom in relation to the love of truth from God:

Since no one can be reformed unless he is in freedom, freedom is never therefore taken away from a person, so far as the person himself is concerned. For it is an eternal law that everyone should be interiorly in freedom, that is, that his affections and thoughts should be in freedom, so that the affection for good and truth may be implanted within him. (AC 2876)

The central issue in everybody's life is to change the inherited enjoyment of evil traits. Everything else is almost of no value in comparison. What can be as important as making sure we are prepared to enter heaven in eternity, when the only other alternative is to enter hell in eternity? Can you think of anything as important as that for you? Since we are born with traits that take us to hell, it's up to each one of us to resist the enjoyments of hellish traits and to compel ourselves from freedom to learn to enjoy heavenly traits, which are their opposites.

For instance, most people enjoy winning and work hard to give themselves that feeling as often as they can. But consider the fact that when you win you are not the one who is responsible for winning. God is. True, you cannot win unless you put up the effort, but this is an as-of self effort which then requires God's cooperation by making you the winner. Often you make the effort but God doesn't cooperate and you don't win. So when you win or when you lose, God is effecting the outcome, not you. When you reflect on this truth from Sacred Scripture, and you also love it, the enjoyment of winning cannot be the same feeling as before. Now you enjoy if it if someone else wins and you lose, whereas before you never liked losing so someone else can win instead of you. Your involvement with winning completely changes. Since you know it is God who chooses the winner, and you love that fact, you enjoy winning because God determined you should win for a useful purpose. By making you the winner, God is bringing out something good for someone else. You begin to reflect on what that might be in any particular situation. How can you benefit someone by your winning? And so on.

Now your involvement with winning is heavenly, whereas before it was hellish. Before when you didn't win, you were disappointed, depressed, angry, resentful, envious, in a bad mood, and other such evil things. You were in these evils thing. You were experiencing the emotions that evil gives you. You were attached to these feelings. Along with these downer feelings when you lost, came upper feelings when you won--pride, self-love, feeling of superiority, greed, arrogance, good mood, etc. The upper feelings are also hellish. So you were in love with this up and down involvement with winning, but now, your feelings about winning are heavenly--gratitude, obedience, wanting to be useful, considerate of others, etc.

What makes the essential difference between hellish type winning and heavenly type winning?

It is the "affection for good and truth" as the passage above declares. This is what God, our Divine Psychologist, is constantly trying to do with each of us--to "implant" this love for heavenly things. "Good and truth" are heavenly things, and this is what we must love or have an affection for. When we do, God responds by expanding our mind into a heaven, like a Garden of Paradise for our thoughts and feelings. Now we begin to change with respect to other traits that are hellish. For instance, most people don't love to pay taxes. Many people even feel free to cheat the government by not declaring certain taxable income or by making up expenses they didn't have to reduce the taxes owed. This is a hellish enjoyment and involvement. We feel good when we succeed in paying less taxes than we actually owe. We justify this by false ideas like the idea that the government is taxing us too much, or that the government officials put the money in their pockets. These ideas are cynical and unjust, also hellish traits. We are drawn into a whole network of evil enjoyments, attitudes, and beliefs.

But now, say you acquire the commitment to change your character according to the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. Time comes to figure out your taxes so you can pay what you owe. You reflect from the truth of Sacred Scripture that God manages all areas in society, including of course taxes. God maintains taxation or else it would disappear. You realize that the function of taxes is heavenly. It redistributes money from those who have it to others who need it. Government services for all citizens could not be provided without taxation. Now as you write your check to the government you feel happy and clear. You love the idea that by paying taxes you are obeying God's order in managing society. You think about where your money might go and how people will benefit from it.

But this heavenly attitude is born in you only when you are in freedom as you write your check. Do you feel compelled to write it because you're scared of the penalties for not paying it? Or, do you feel free to write it because you love it, that is, you love the idea that you are obeying God's management procedures? Only if you feel free from love can you acquire as your own, the heavenly attitude towards paying taxes.

Whenever the affection for truth and the affection for good are being implanted by the Lord, which is done without the person's awareness of it, he takes in truth and does good in freedom because he acts from affection. For whatever is done from affection, as has been stated, constitutes freedom; and the truth of faith joins itself in that case to good that stems from charity. Unless man has freedom in everything he thinks and wills, the Lord could not possibly implant within anybody the freedom to think what is true and to will what is good. For if a person is to be reformed he must think what is true as if from himself and do what is good as if from himself. And when he does so as if from himself he is in freedom. Otherwise no reformation or regeneration would ever be possible. (AC 2877)

Note that heavenly freedom is the "freedom to think what is true and to will what is good." If you make yourself think in accordance with the truth of Sacred Scripture because you love it, you are in heavenly freedom. In other words, (a) you read Sacred Scripture or theistic psychology and you understand it rationally; (b) you love it because it is the truth of God; (c) you make yourself think about everything all day in accordance with this Divine truth you love; (d) God implants the love for the heavenly traits and makes it a permanent part of your mind. Repeat this process every day of your life, and your mind will become heavenly. When you pass on, you enter the conjugial heaven of eternity.

The reason I call it "conjugial" heaven, is because everyone in heaven lives in a married state with their soul mate (see Section xx).

12.6.3  Compelling Oneself to Do Good

Continuing with the Next Number:

Countless causes exist as the origin and the reason for a person's love of learning what is true and willing what is good. Very many have a worldly origin and also very many have a bodily origin; and sometimes it is not heaven, still less the Lord, that is the reason. Man is thus introduced by the Lord into truth and good by means of affections, one person in an entirely different way from another, each one according to his innate and acquired disposition. And since he is introduced into truth and good constantly by means of affections, and so constantly by means of the freedom he has, and is at length introduced into affections for spiritual truth and spiritual good, the Lord alone knows those times and those states, and He alone organizes and governs them as is appropriate to the inclination and life of the individual. From this it is evident why man possesses freedom. (AC 2878)

Regeneration is a lifelong process of character change. The Divine Psychologist works with each individual regardless of whether they have a religion or whether they are atheists and materialistic scientists in the negative bias. God works with you even if you deny He exists, because if He stopped, you would disappear from existence. God has revealed that He constantly tries to bend an individual away from evil by making certain things happen or not. For instance, God makes you forget something so you don't think about doing a certain evil, which you would commit if you hadn't forgotten about it or if God hadn't kept the knowledge of it from you. God uses many other such methods that hide how much He is interfering with your thoughts, feelings, and events.

Nothing else seems to a person to be that person's, that is, to be properly his own, except that which flows from freedom. The reason is that all affection that exists within love constitutes his inner life itself; and when someone acts from affection he does so from his life, that is, from himself and so from what is his, that is, properly his own. In order therefore that a person may receive a heavenly proprium such as angels in heaven have, he is maintained in freedom, and by means of the freedom is introduced into it in the way described already. Anyone may see that when worshipping the Lord in freedom one seems to do so from oneself, that is, from what is properly one's own, but when worshipping under compulsion one is not doing so from oneself but from some outside influence or from some other source that forces one to do it. Thus anyone may see that worship offered in freedom is worship itself, but worship offered under compulsion is not worship at all. (AC 2880)

"Worship" in theistic psychology refers to love of heavenly things because they are from God. The passage above says that this love for acquiring heavenly traits ("worship") becomes part of our permanent character only when we feel free to love these traits. For instance, if we love the idea of acquiring heavenly traits because we are afraid of hell, we are not yet in freedom. Our love for heaven is out of fear for hell rather than out of a love for good and truth. We are not yet in freedom, and the heavenly traits we acquire are not really heavenly in us. This may be a necessary intermediate stage, though. In my own case, I am terrified at the idea that I might go to hell! I am motivated to get rid of my hellish traits fro that reason. I realize that this is an intermediate stage because I still enjoy hellish traits. My rational mind tells me that these hellish enjoyments take me to hell, of which I am terrified, and yet I still enjoy them! This means that I'm still not in freedom to think truth and love good, which is the true heavenly freedom. But I'm striving to acquire this freedom and I know the Divine Psychologist is assisting me through temptations (see Section xx).

If it had been possible for man to be reformed under compulsion there would not be anyone at all in the universe who would not be saved. Nothing would in fact be easier for the Lord than to compel man to fear Him, to worship Him, or indeed so to speak to love Him. The means available to Him are countless. But because that which is done under compulsion is not joined to a person and so does not become his own, it is therefore quite alien to the Lord to compel anybody. As long as a person is engaged in conflicts, that is, is a member of the Church militant, it seems as though the Lord does compel that person and thus that he has no freedom; for he is at that time constantly battling against self-love and love of the world, and so against the freedom into which he was born and into which he has grown up, and as a consequence he seems, as just mentioned, to have no freedom. But in those conflicts in which he is victorious he possesses greater freedom than outside of them; yet this freedom does not originate in himself but in the Lord, though it still seems to be his own; see 1937, 1947. (AC 2881)

This passage says that God could easily compel everyone to love heavenly traits, which means that He would then prevent anyone from enjoying any hellish trait. Why does He not use His omnipotence to prevent all evil in the universe? The passage explains that anything people are made to think, love, or do by compulsion, does not feel like it is their own. Only that which they choose in freedom feels like their own. Children who are forced to go to Church, or to take piano lessons, stop doing these things as soon as they are out of their parents' obedience and authority. Why do they stop? Because doing something they were forced to do did not become part of their love. Anything in our traits or behaviors that we do not love is pushed to the side and it becomes inert, no longer a feature of the character or personality.

Whatever is not your own cannot become a permanent part of you, and hence will not help you in the afterlife. Hence God cannot use His omnipotence to compel people to love heavenly traits and to stop loving hellish traits. If peop0le are forced to stop some behavior, the love for that behavior keeps burning and longing to be fulfilled. As soon as the compulsion stops or is no longer effective, the love springs into action. People who enjoy hellish traits and are taken to heaven feel like all life is leaving them and they lapse into a coma, or else feel tortured in agony for until they are removed and released back in their hell where they can freely enjoy their hellish traits. This is then the reason why God permits evil in the world--remember this argument! So many people cannot figure this thing out even if they are very intelligent and familiar with the literature in religion or philosophy. Some people even claim that this is the very reason they don't believe in God. Others say that this proves God is not omnipotent--there is the power of evil or the devil or Satan or "dark angels." Others say, perversely, that God is not all good and has some evil in Him. Now you can understand rationally why God allows evil.

Instead God tries to coax people into freely choosing truth and good, using many secret methods unknown to human beings.

To acquire a heavenly proprium therefore man needs to do good from himself and to think truth from himself. But still he needs to know, and when he has been reformed, to think and believe, that everything good and everything true comes from the Lord, even the least trace of all, and to think and believe this because it is so. Yet a person is allowed to suppose that he acts from himself in order that good and truth may become as if they were his own. (AC 2883).

Only what we choose freely remains permanently in our character because when we choose freely, we choose from love, and whatever we chose from love, remains forever.

A "heavenly proprium" is a permanent character we have that is suitable for living in heaven. "Proprium" is Latin for "own" or what is one's own, hence our personality and character. "Personality" usually refers to our social habits in work and relationships, while "character" refers to our ruling loves. For instance, being polite is usually a personality trait. As soon as we no longer like someone, or when we feel alienated or rebellious, we drop the usual appearances of politeness we give, and we 'let it fly' as the popular saying goes. This shows that our real character is 'to let it fly' when we decide it's time for that. When we are awakened from resuscitation, some 30 hours after death, we still have both our personality and character with us--nothing has changed. This is the first death. But the next few weeks or months lead us into experiences which liberate our real loves such as we have deep seated in our character. Our real character then emerges and our personality dies. This is called the second death. Now we are what our character really is--either heavenly or hellish, and we enter our eternal heaven or our eternal hell (see Section xx).

The passage above says that in order to acquire for ourselves a character ('proprium") that can live happily in heaven, we must acquire heavenly loves as our own. We can't just make ourselves do heavenly things and not come to like it. At first we may not like it, but later God implants the liking and the love for it. At that moment we begin to hate the former hellish enjoyments we loved. The passage says that we "need to do good and to think truth" from ourselves, which means, from our free choice to do it. Only then can we love it, and thus have it with us at the second death. The only way this can happen is in reality--in understanding the actual role of the Divine Psychologist in every detail of this character makeover process. Try to do this character makeover by yourself, without acknowledging and understanding God's actual role, and you cannot succeed. This is a fact of theistic psychology explained in many ways in Sacred Scripture, as regeneration of our character is the central purpose why God gives Sacred Scripture to the human race.

The freedom that goes with self-love and love of the world, and their accompanying desires, is anything but freedom; it is utter slavery. Nevertheless it is called freedom, even as the expressions love, affection, and delight are used in both ways, and yet self-love and love of the world are anything but love; they are hatred. And the same is so with affection and delight that accompany these loves. They are so called according to what they appear to be, not according to what they are in reality. (AC 2884)

This is one of the critical concepts we need to understand in theistic psychology. There are two kinds of freedom, one true freedom called heavenly freedom, and the other false freedom called hellish or infernal freedom. Acting from self-love feels like freedom and is strongly enjoyable, but it "is anything but freedom" according to our Divine Psychologist. The amazing revelation is given here that acting from self-love is not acting from love but from hatred. For instance, suppose you criticize a friend or neighbor to make yourself feel better in comparison. You are acting from self-love, which is actually hatred of the other person. So you are acting from hatred, not love. It is similar with the "love of the world" which contrasts with the love of heaven in the afterlife. For instance, many people have the habit of lying when they can gain some money, reputation, or advantage over someone they're competing with. This act is from the love of the world, that is, the love of gaining even if we have to be unfair or deceptive to get it. It appears that we are acting from a love for acquiring good things we desire, but in reality, we are acting from hatred of others whom we cheat and deprive illegitimately of what they are entitled to.

Acting from hate against others is not freedom but infernal freedom, which is nothing but "slavery."

Nobody is able to know what slavery is and what freedom is unless he knows the origin of each one. Nobody can know either origin except from the Word and unless he knows about man's affections belonging to the will and about his thoughts belonging to the understanding. (AC 2885)

"The Word" refers to Sacred Scripture. It is declared here that Sacred Scripture is the only source of information and knowledge for theistic psychology. Two requirements are specified here for understanding freedom and love. One is obtaining information about it from Sacred Scripture. The second is obtaining information by self-witnessing, which involves regular monitoring of our thoughts and feelings (see Section xx).

12.6.4  The Role of Our Vertical Community


With regard to man's affections and to his thoughts, the position is that no one at all, whether man, spirit, or angel, is able to will or to think from himself, but does so from others. Nor are those others themselves the source of anything they will or think, but others again, and so on with these. Thus each individual wills and thinks from the First Source of life, who is the Lord.

Anything that is not connected to a prior source cannot occur. Evils and falsities have a connection with the hells, and so the hells are the source of the thinking and willing of people immersed in evils and falsities, and also the source of their love, affection, and delight, and consequently of their freedom. But goods and truths have a connection with heaven, and so heaven is the source of the thinking and willing of people with whom goods and truths are present, and also the source of their love, affection, and delight, and consequently of their freedom. From this it becomes clear where the first type of freedom originates and where the second. The truth of this is very well known in the next life, but it is totally unknown at the present time in the world. (AC 2886)

The expression "man, spirit, or angel" refers to the three basic states of life we go through. "Man" refers to our earthly life through the physical body. "Spirit" refers to our state in the world of spirits, which is where we are resuscitated immediately after death. But it also refers to "devils" or the state of mind we are in when we enter hell. "Angel" refers to the state we are in when we climb to the heaven in our mind. The state of being either an angel or a devil begins at our second death when we leave the world of spirits and enter heaven or hell as our permanent state of life.

The passage above repeats once more that whatever the mental state are are in, we depend on associations with others since no one "is able to will or to think from himself, but does so from others." This is the vertical community that interconnects, consciously and unconsciously, every human being with every other in the universe (see Section xx). No one is the source of thoughts and feelings since everyone depends on others for "influx" or unconscious communication of thoughts and emotions. Ultimately "each individual wills and thinks from the First Source of life, who is the Lord" which means that God initiates and manages every person's thoughts and feelings regardless of the state of mind they are in.

Note the sentence, "Anything that is not connected to a prior source cannot occur." This is one of the great universal revelations in all Sacred Scripture. It is elaborated in several places in the Writings. It is part of the logic of God's omnipotence. The source of anything must be God or else He is not omnipotent and omnipresent. Note that it is not possible for God to give away anything since He is omnipresent. God is the source of everything at the start, during, and at the end of it. For instance, the power to think is God's power active in our mind. It is not our power received from God who is the source. It is never our power since it always remains God's power. God cooperates with us in our thinking and feeling and this cooperation involves the activation of our thinking sequence and its maintenance in this or that direction. This is all God's power, not ours. He is the source of all power going on and retains that power.

Heaven and hell are called sources because it appears that they act from themselves. Every single thought or feeling has its source either from heaven or from hell. God's love and wisdom is the ultimate and actual source of all feelings and thoughts in heaven, but not so of hell. God's love and wisdom enters the human race through the heaven in people's mind but by the time it filters down to the hell in our mind, the love and wisdom are turned into their opposites, namely, hate and stupidity (see Section xx).

Present with man all the time there are evil spirits and there are angels. By means of the spirits he communicates with the hells, and by means of the angels with the heavens. If those spirits and angels were taken away from him he would instantly lose the ability to will and to think, and so would not have any life. This may seem paradoxical, but is perfectly true. But the subject of spirits and angels present with man is in the Lord's Divine mercy to be discussed elsewhere. (AC 2887)

Here again it is repeated that all human beings form a vertical community in which they are all interconnected, an no disconnected individual can survive for a moment. We depend on the vertical community for our ability to have feelings and thoughts.

The truth of the matter is that the life which anyone has, whether man or spirit, or angel also, flows in solely from the Lord, who is Life itself, and spreads itself throughout the whole of heaven, and of hell also, and in this way enters into each individual, doing so according to an order and sequence beyond comprehension.

But this inflowing life is received by each according to his own disposition. Good and truth are received by those who are good as good and truth, but by those who are evil as evil and falsity, and are also converted among such into evil and falsity. It is like the light of the sun which spreads itself into all objects on earth but is received according to the specific nature of each object, possessing a beautiful colouring in forms that are beautiful, and a hideous colouring in forms that are hideous.

In the world this is an arcanum, but in the next life nothing is known better. To enable me to know the nature of such influx I have been allowed to speak to the spirits and to the angels present with me, and also to feel and perceive their influx, which has happened more times than I can number. But I realize that people will still be misled into believing that what they will is from themselves, and that what they think is from themselves, thus that they have life from themselves. But nothing could be further from the truth. (AC 2888).

The last paragraph explains that Swedenborg was allowed to be conscious of the vertical community connections in his mind, which ordinarily are unconscious. Swedenborg was not only able to perceive the "influx" of communication itself, but was allowed to talk to those from whom he was receiving the influx. Note that influx is adapted uniquely to each individual's make up and that it is God who directly maintains and directs the traffic flow of communication from influx.

Evil spirits are quite incapable of comprehending that they do not live independently of themselves and that they are merely organs of life. Still less can they comprehend that there is any life except that which comes from good and truth, and least of all that they do not start to live until the life of evil desires and false persuasions in which they are immersed is annihilated. They believe that if they were deprived of these no life at all could possibly be left to them, whereas the truth of the matter is that once they have got rid of the life of evil desires and of false persuasions they start to live for the first time, and the Lord, together with good and truth in which alone life consists, is received in a way He had not been previously. At that point also intelligence and wisdom, and so life itself, flow in, and after that increasingly and immeasurably so, together with delight, blessedness, and happiness, and so with inmost joy, and with a variety beyond description that continues endlessly. (AC 2889)

The passage above summarizes in a nutshell our entire human immortality. "Evil spirits" refers to our mental states called hellish, which is where we start life as a young child. Our physical body inherits our parents' physical traits while our spiritual body, or mind, inherits our parents' mental or spiritual traits. As a young child our mind is surrounded in the world of spirits by the same vertical community which surrounds the spirit of our parents. If this were not the case, the child would be so estranged and different from the parents they would not recognize themselves in their child, and would not be willing to love the child and to provide for its needs. Hence God keeps children and parents in the same spiritual sphere or mental zone of the vertical community. This means that we are with evil spirits much of the time during day and night. The specific thoughts and emotions and curiosities children have are determined by the spirits they are with in the vertical community.

The child's personality and character is the personality and character of the spirits. Obviously, if the child's character is going to regenerate later in adult life, God must provide good spirits as well as evil, that communicate with the child and are the source of the child's thoughts and feelings. Growing up is therefore a controlled alternation between having hellish feelings or thoughts, and having heavenly feelings or thoughts. By this mechanism, God insures that our adult personality consists of many good traits and many evil traits. Armed with these skills of willing and understanding, God makes young adults face themselves to discover who they really want to become--angels or devils. The rest of their life as adults here on earth they are going to be faced with this dilemma, over and over again. God brings to each precisely those experiences they need to choose in freedom.

As we undergo this life of choice for heaven or hell, we go through resistance and agony during the temptations God is making us face. The source of this pain is described in the passage above: "They believe that if they were deprived of [evil desires and false persuasions in which they are immersed] no life at all could possibly be left to them." This is our spiritual temptation. This belief is a delusion, an untruth, a self-destructive lie coming from the evil spirits. It feels so real! We cannot bring ourselves to believe what Sacred Scripture says. We disbelieve the rational so that we can continue believing in the irrational, so that we can continue living. For being deprived of our enjoyments is like stopping to live.

But we do get the message of the good spirits and angels whom God keeps in communication with another part of the mind called rational conscience. The thoughts of this heavenly idea coming into our reflection is that "the truth of the matter is that once they have got rid of the life of evil desires and of false persuasions they start to live for the first time." We can hang on to this thought by acknowledging that it is from God through heaven. We must know and understand that it is from God or else the evil spirits win. God is the only power that can neutralize and overcome the power of the evil spirits. Remember that this power the evil spirits have over our mind is not their power since all power is God's. God gives us the power to hold on to the evil spirits or to the good spirits. The spirits themselves have no power.

This is the great battle of good vs. evil playing itself out in every individual's mind. It is the universal mechanism God uses to regenerate the Fallen human character--pitting hell in our mind against heaven in our mind, so that we decide which we want to get rid of.

The evil spirits residing with a person through whom he communicates with hell see him as no more than their vile slave, for they pour into him their own desires and persuasions, and thereby lead him wherever they wish. But the angels through whom a person communicates with heaven see him as a brother and instill into him affections for what is good and true, and thereby lead him in freedom not where they wish but where the Lord pleases. This shows the nature of both types of freedom, and that it is slavery to be led by the devil but freedom to be led by the Lord. (AC 2890)

Sacred Scripture reveals here that we become slaves to evil people from hell when we reject becoming brothers and sisters to good people from heaven. Our final destination in immortality is either one or the other. There is no other possibility God has created. God creates every person with a mind that can contain both a heaven and a hell. We go down to the hell in our mind when we accept the persuasions, falsities, and evil enjoyments coming into our mind from others who are already permanently in the hells of their mind. We go up to the heaven in our mind when we accept the rational understandings of truth and good coming into our mind from others who are already permanently in the heavens of their mind.

God insures that we all have experiences that develop our ability to think rationally and to have feelings from our inborn conscience. These rational concepts now become "vessels of influx" or receptors of thoughts and feelings from the heavenly vertical community to which we are connected. We become aware of our thoughts and preferences as we reflect or witness ourselves in the course of our daily activities (see Section xx). We are able to recognize that we have both hellish and heavenly traits, alternating at different times. We learn from the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture that our hellish traits are inherited. They are not our own unless we make them our own by loving them. Therefore our ultimate destiny is in our hands because God sets it up that way and maintains the balance necessary. We have complete freedom all the time to choose our loves. No one and nothing can compel anyone's love for God keeps it free always. Without this inner freedom to love whatever we want, God could not regenerate us and bring us to our heaven in immortality.

Those who have become spirits only recently torment themselves very much by trying to grasp the idea that no one is able to do good of himself, or to think what is true of himself, but that he does so from the Lord. For they believe that if that idea is true they would accordingly be like mere machines and have control of nothing at all; and that being so they would let hands hang down and allow themselves to be acted upon. But they are told that they ought by all means to think, to will, and to do good of themselves, and that in no other way could they have a heavenly proprium and heavenly freedom. But they are also told that they ought nevertheless to acknowledge that good and truth do not originate in themselves but in the Lord, and they are informed that such acknowledgement and indeed perception that this is so exists with all angels. And the more keenly they perceive that they are led by the Lord and so abide in Him the more they are in freedom. (AC 2891)

"Those who have become spirits only recently" refers to the mental state we are in when we believe that we are acting from ourselves. This is an initial state of mind hence it is represented by the phase that begins when we are first resuscitated after the death of the physical body. In that state we are also called "novitiate spirits." They believe that they live from themselves and by themselves, and since we are connected to them, we too believe this materialistic idea. When we believe to be alone in our mind we "torment [our]selves very much by trying to grasp the idea that no one is able to do good of himself, or to think what is true of himself, but that he does so from the Lord. For [we] believe that if that idea is true [we] would accordingly be like mere machines and have control of nothing at all; and that being so [we] would let hands hang down and allow [our]selves to be acted upon."

Nobody likes the idea of being a mere spiritual robot activated by God. It would remove all motivation to do anything, to think anything, or to will anything. We would wait like robots to be activated by a Divine command or program. The passage above says that we are informed by Sacred Scripture that we "ought by all means to think, to will, and to do good of [our]selves, and that in no other way could [we] have a heavenly proprium and heavenly freedom." This refers to the as-of self phenomenon discussed elsewhere (see Section xx). God is telling us the method He has created for our character reformation. God would gladly do it for us, if this were rationally possible, but is is a rational impossibility, as frequently discussed in theistic psychology.

This method involves the as-of self effort to reject our evil traits and to love our heavenly traits. This is the opposite idea of being a robot in God's hands. It is also the opposite idea of the belief, some religious people have, that God can change our character by "faith alone," and more specifically, by believing that God died on the cross for our sins so that they are no more (see Section xx). From this perspective, entering heaven is by reward from faith. Many passages in the Old and New Testaments can be used to justify this belief, but only the literal meaning of the passages. As soon as you apply the method of correspondences to those passages, as demonstrated and illustrated in the Writings, it becomes rationally clear that Sacred Scripture is teaching us that the only way to enter heaven is to have a new character. This message is so crucial that it appears in the plain literal meaning as well as in the correspondential meaning. But those who are persuaded of a "blind faith" theory of salvation merely ignore the many passages that clearly say in the literal meaning that we cannot enter heaven unless we regenerate our character.

The state of one who leads a good life and who believes that the Lord governs the universe, and that He alone is the source of everything good that flows from love and charity, and of everything true that is a matter of faith, and indeed that He is the source of all life - thus the state of one who believes that 'in Him we live, and move, and have our being' - is such that he can have heavenly freedom conferred on him, and with that freedom peace as well. For he trusts solely in the Lord and has no anxious cares about all else; he is quite sure that all things work for his good, blessedness, and happiness for ever. But one who believes that he governs himself is constantly agitated, being carried along into evil desires, into anxious cares about things of the future, and thus into a vast number of anxieties. And such being his belief, evil desires and false persuasions also cling to him. (AC 2892)

The quotation "in Him we live, and move, and have our being" is from the literal meaning of the New Testament (Acts 17:28). This refers to what is explained in the passage above, namely, that human beings are created so that they are most happy, i.e., in their heaven, when they believe and understand rationally what it means that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. When we stay with the logic of God's omnipotence and goodness we are in "heavenly freedom," which is that we can choose as-of self to love whatever God commands and reveals and leads to. How do we love this? By putting up the effort to give up the opposite view that we do good from ourselves (materialism) or that we cannot choose to do good from ourselves (faith alone theory).

When we are in this heavenly freedom and rational understanding we are also in heaven in our mind. We are spared any anxiety about the future, while in the other mode, we are sometimes worried, anxious, and depressed about the future. Evil things "cling" to us by means of "vast number of anxieties" and we are "carried along into evil desires" that bring much suffering, and ultimately, bring us to the greatest suffering of all, which is eternal hell.

Good spirits have been utterly amazed that the member of the Church at the present day does not believe that all evils and falsities with him flow in from hell, and that all goods and truths flow in from the Lord, even though he knows it from the Word and also from the doctrine of faith, and even though everyone says when somebody has done an enormously evil deed that he has allowed himself to be led by the devil, and when somebody has done a good deed that he has allowed himself to be led by the Lord. (AC 2893)

"Good spirits" refers to our state of mind when we begin our regeneration by being willing to to think and live according to the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. The "member of the Church at the present day" refers to our mental state when we believe in the "faith alone" theory which says that no one is capable of choosing good over evil because we are evil. They do not know that evil is not ours but flows in from the hells as long as we allow it. The faith alone theory prevents them from acknowledging that the evil is not theirs. To acknowledge that the evils is not theirs would destroy their faith alone theory since it would require that they reject their evils and do them no more. This they are unwilling to do by saying that it's impossible to do.

The passage above says that both "the Word" or Sacred Scripture, and the "doctrine of faith" or religious practices (or "Church"), teach that all evils are from the devil and all good is from God. Despite this, the faith alone adherents refuse to acknowledge that the evil they do is from hell not from themselves, and therefore they can stop doing it. Further, that it is God's commandment that we stop doing evil and start doing good.


12.6.5  Spiritual Spheres Within the Mind



And told his two brethren without. That this signifies that he derided, follows as a consequence from what has been said. For with those who are in no charity, there is continual contempt for others, or continual derision, and on every occasion a publishing of their errors. That they do not act openly, is solely owing to the restraining influence of external bonds, namely, fear of the law, of loss of life, of honor, of gain, and of reputation, on their account; and this is why they inwardly cherish such things, while outwardly they pretend friendship. In this way they acquire two spheres, which are plainly perceived in the other life: the one, interior, full of hatreds; the other, exterior, simulative of what is good. These spheres, being as they are utterly discordant, cannot but be in conflict with each other; and therefore when the exterior sphere is taken away from them, so that they cannot dissemble, they rush into all wickedness; and when it is not taken away, hatred lurks in every word they utter; and this is perceived. From this come their punishments and torments. (AC 1080)


Wherefore, when it pleases the Lord, there is no need to explore in many ways the quality of a soul or spirit; for it may be known at his first approach. To these spheres correspond the spheres of odors in the world. (AC 925)


And thou shalt set bounds to the people round about. That this signifies extension into heaven no further than to the spiritual spheres of good, is evident from the signification of "setting bounds round about," as being the extension of the sphere into heaven to certain limits, which are determined by the good of each person; and from the representation of the sons of Israel, who are "the people" here spoken of, as being those who are in the spiritual good in which truth is to be implanted; for this state of the good of those who are of the spiritual church is described in this and the following chapters (see n. 8753). Hence it is that by "thou shalt set bounds to the people round about" is signified an extension into heaven no further than to the spiritual spheres of good.

[2] What is meant by "extension into heaven to the spiritual spheres of good" cannot be known to anyone except by revelation. The case herein is this. All the good which is given to man through regeneration from the Lord has extension to societies in heaven. This extension differs as to amount and quality with each person; as to amount when to more remote limits; as to quality, when more to the interiors or more to the exteriors of heaven. Good itself with man flows in from the Lord through the societies of heaven which are round about; good without influx through societies not being possible. The societies of heaven are in continuous connection round about, and nowhere is there seen a discontinuity. It is the same with each and all things that pertain to good, and constitute its quality. Wherefore during man's regeneration, the enriching of good is nothing else than insinuation into angelic societies, and thus conjunction with them (see also n. 4067, 4073, 4077, 6598-6613).

[3] This has also been frequently shown by living experience; for sometimes the communications with certain societies have been taken away, and then so much of life and such a quality of life remained, as was the degree and quality of extension into the remaining societies; and when more societies were taken away, then the life labored, and began as it were to be extinguished. Every angel, spirit, and man has a spiritual sphere, and this according to his extension into societies. This extension is not into the societies themselves, but into the spheres of their good. These are secrets which are unknown to man, but in the other life are very well known. The reason why they are unknown to man is that at this day he believes that he has life in himself, and consequently that he lives without consociation with spirits and angels, thus without conjunction with heaven; but in this he is quite mistaken, for all the life of man is from the Lord through societies.

[4] Be it further known that the extension of the life of those who are of the spiritual church is to the angelic spheres in the second heaven, which is called the spiritual heaven; but not to the third heaven where the celestial are. The reason is that the men of the spiritual church cannot receive the Divine such as it is in the inmost or third heaven where the celestial are, except so generally that it does not at all come to their perception; because the spiritual cannot come even to the first threshold of the good in which the celestial are (n. 2718, 3833, 6500, 8521). From all this it is evident what is meant by extension into heaven no further than to the spiritual spheres of good, which is signified by "thou shalt set bounds to the people round about;" also what is meant by what follows.

[5] Be it also known that as they who are in good have extension into angelic societies according to the quality and amount of their good, so they who are in evil have extension into infernal societies according to the quality and amount of their evil; and further, that everyone in the other life comes among those with whom he had communicated in the life of the body. His ruling love determines this, for it is this love which constitutes the sphere of everyone's life, and extends itself according to its quality and according to its amount. (AC 8794).


As the inhabitants of the earth Jupiter acquire intelligence by another way than do the inhabitants of our earth, and besides are from their life of a different disposition, they cannot be together; but if they approach they either shun or repel them. There are spheres that are to be called spiritual spheres, which continually emanate, nay, pour forth from every society. These spheres are from the activity of the affections and of the derivative thoughts, thus they are of the life itself (concerning spheres, see n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504, 1505, 1507, 1508, 1510-1519, 2401, 4464, 5179, 6206, 7454, 6598-6613, 8063).

[2] All the consociations in the other life are effected in accordance with the spheres; those which agree together are conjoined according to their agreement; those which do not agree are repelled according to their disagreement. Every province in the Grand Man (to which some member or organ in the human body corresponds), has its own sphere distinct from the sphere of any other province; hence the mutual conjunction of those who belong to the same province; and the disjunction of those who belong to some other. The spirits and angels who are from the earth Jupiter bear relation in the Grand Man to the IMAGINATIVE OF THOUGHT, and thus to an active state of the interior parts. But the spirits of our earth bear relation to the various functions of the exterior parts of the body, into which, when they desire to rule, the Imaginative of Thought cannot flow; hence the oppositions between the spheres. (AC 8630).




CL 203. We say that offspring derive from their parents a conjugial connection between good and truth, because from creation a union of these two has been introduced into the soul of everyone; for this is the ingredient which flows into a human being from the Lord and causes his life to be human. However, this conjugial union passes from the soul into subsequent elements until it reaches the final constituents of the body, and as it passes, on one level or another it is changed by the person himself in many ways, and sometimes into the opposite, which we call the conjugal or connubial connection between evil and falsity. When this occurs, the mind is closed up from below, and sometimes is twisted around like a spiral coil into the opposite direction.

Nevertheless, in some people the union is not closed up but remains partly open above, and in some cases all the way open. In either circumstance, this conjugial union is something from which offspring derive inclinations from their parents, a son in one way and a daughter in another. The conjugial union has this effect, because conjugial love is the fundamental love of all loves (as we showed above in no. 65). (CL 203)




12.7  Character Flaws



12.8  Resentment, Envy, Avarice



12.9  The Love of Profanation

Profanation is the act of hurting oneself spiritually by injuring the connection an individual has with God. Examples include cursing, blasphemy, levity, disrespect for the sacred and Divine, hatred of God, etc.

Quoting from Swedenborg:

"And a prince in thy people thou shall not execrate." That this signifies that neither are the doctrines of truth to be blasphemed, is evident from the signification of "a prince," as being the primary truths of the church (see n. 5044); from the signification of "a people," as being those who are in truths of doctrine (n. 1259, 1260, 2928, 3295, 3581, 7207); and from the signification of "execrating," as being to blaspheme. How closely these things are connected, is evident from the internal sense; for by "not to curse God" is signified not to blaspheme truth Divine, and by "not to execrate a prince" is signified not to blaspheme the doctrine of truth. Truth Divine is the Word, and the doctrine of the church is the truth thence derived. A few words may be said about the blaspheming of truth Divine. Truth Divine is the Word, and is doctrine from the Word. Those blaspheme who at heart deny these, even though with the mouth they may praise the Word, and preach it. The blasphemy is hidden in the denial, and it emerges when they are left by themselves, especially in the other life; for there hearts speak, after outward things have been removed.

[2] Those who blaspheme, that is, deny the Word, are unable to receive anything of the truth and good of faith; for the Word teaches the existence of the Divine-Human, of heaven and hell, of the life after death, of faith and charity, and of many other things, which without the Word, that is, without revelation, would be quite unknown (n. 8944); and therefore those who deny the Word cannot receive anything of what the Word teaches; for when they either read or hear it, a negative attitude presents itself, which either extinguishes the truth, or turns it into falsity.

[3] Wherefore the very first thing with the man of the church is to believe the Word; and this is the chief thing with him who is in the truth of faith and the good of charity. But with those who are in the evils of the love of self and of the world, the chief thing is not to believe the Word, for they reject it the moment they think about it, and likewise blaspheme it. If a man were to see the magnitude and the nature of the blasphemies against the Word that exist with those who are in the evils of these loves, he would be horrified. While the man himself is in the world he is not aware of this, because these blasphemies are hidden behind the ideas of that active thought which with men passes into speech. Nevertheless they are revealed in the other life, and appear horrible.

[4] Blasphemies are of two kinds; there are those which come forth from the understanding and not at the same time from the will; and those which come forth from the will through the understanding. It is these latter blasphemies which are so horrible; but not the former. Those which come forth from the will through the understanding are from evil of life; but those which come forth from the understanding only, and not at the same time from the will, are from falsity of doctrine, or from the fallacies of the external senses, which deceive a man who is held fast in ignorance. These things have been said in order that it may be known how the case is with the blaspheming of truth Divine, that is, of the Word and its derivative doctrine, which is signified by "cursing God and execrating a prince of the people." (AC 9222)


12.10   Arrogance, Cynicism, Relativism



12.11   Corporeality

The mind is a spiritual organ operating at three discrete levels or degrees called the natural mind, the rational mind, and the spiritual mind. Each major level is further sub-divided into an external part, an intermediate part, and an internal part. The natural mind is our conscious mind while we are still attached to a physical body. It has three sub-portions called the natural-corporeal mind, the natural-sensuous mind, and the natural-rational mind. Our focus, mentality, and quality of life is entirely different in each portion of the natural mind. While we are still attached to a physical body we are not conscious of the operations in

When our conscious life of feeling and thinking is arrested or stuck at the natural-corporeal level, we live a life style called "corporeal" because this level by itself is devoid of any rationality or essentially human life. The Writings reveal that the human level starts with the natural-rational operations in our mind. The corporeal and sensuous levels below it are called "animal." In other words, we share with animals our corporeal and sensuous life, but not our rational and spiritual life.

The term "corporeality" refers to the quality of life we have when we "immerse" our feelings and thoughts into the corporeal-sensuous life we experience through the physical body. To be immersed within this level means that we keep natural-rational thoughts and feelings blocked or cut off from our corporeal-sensuous lifestyle. For example, we may be unwilling to examine the consequences of our behavior and proceed solely on the basis of attraction and convenience. We may overeat,  fail to exercise properly, and spend our time looking for fun and neglecting responsibilities and duties. We are committed to our pleasure and comfort and do not wish to serve the needs of others at the same time. We may engage in risky behavior and when we are not stopped by fear, we try to dominate others and use them for our purposes, often being unfair to them and disregarding their rights.

The life of corporeality inevitably leads to degradation and lawlessness. One is ruled by the love of self and the world. One is attached to self-destructive behaviors and behaviors that are anti-social, anti-community, anti-rationality. The corporeal mentality consists of thought patterns that justify selfish behavior and is incapable of moderating its own excesses. People who immerse their life into corporeality by blocking rationality, keep themselves in a state of slavery to impulses and desires. They are not capable of freedom of choice since this requires the natural-rational mind to be active and interactive with the corporeal mentality.

For instance, many men keep themselves in their corporeal mind, unwilling to "commit" to a monogamous and conjugal relationship with a woman. They think that to commit is to lose freedom, yet the opposite is the case. We do not have freedom until the natural-rational mind is made effectively interactive with the sensuous and corporeal mind. While we keep the rational blocked off in a theoretical or idealistic corner, we curtail our freedom of choice to only those alternatives that "feel good" or "seem good" to our sensuous mind. Anything that "feels good" is defined as good, when it is not. For example, it feels good to take out one's anger or bad mood on somebody convenient that happens along--a family member, a driver on the road, a co-worker, or a customer and client. We may smash things against the floor, punch a hole in the wall, or neglect to take care of something because we don't feel like it. We spend money on things we feel like having even if we can't afford it, so that things we need go wanting.

The corporeal mind hates conscience, repentance, and character reformation because these things require denying the corporeal-sensuous mind from what it wants and demands. The more we isolate and segregate the rational mind from influencing the sensuous mind, the more we become slaves to our wants, even if it destroys everything, as in the case of addictions and character weaknesses--drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, pornography, lawlessness, abuse, violence, prejudice, intolerance, selfishness, negligence, lack of caring and compassion for others. Character weaknesses are fatal spiritually in that they lead us to an eternal hell from which we are unwilling to escape, so strong is the hold of irrationality on our mind.

The corporeal mind hates commitment and wants to keep all sorts of options open, even though these options should be voided and avoided. In the area of relationships, the corporeal partner cannot be trusted to be reliable and honorable. In the area of work, the corporeal mind ducks responsibility and tries to get away with the minimum necessary. In the area of religion, the corporeal mind only wants what is persuasive and seductive--mystical experiences, visible miracles, sensorimotor rituals, and sectarian orientation. Doctrine, which requires rational thinking, is not valued by the corporeal mind, but dogma, which requires only blind faith and persuasive demonstrations, is highly valued as something that requires no figuring out or understanding.

Swedenborg presents observational evidence on the level of life of the corporeal mind when it enters the spiritual world. Here is one of many such observation found in the Writings:

The man whose love is heavenly and spiritual comes into heaven; while the man whose love is corporeal and worldly with no heavenly and spiritual love goes to hell. This has been confirmed for me from all whom I have seen taken up into heaven or cast into hell. The life of those taken up into heaven had been derived from a heavenly and spiritual love, while the life of those cast into hell had been derived from a corporeal and worldly love. Heavenly love consists in loving what is good, honest, and just, because it is good, honest and just, and in doing this from that love; and those who have this love have a life of goodness, honesty, and justice, which is the heavenly life. (...)

But corporeal love is loving what is good, honest, and just, not for its own sake but for the sake of self, because reputation, honor, and gain can thus be acquired. Such, in what is good, honest, and just, do not look to the Divine-Human and to the neighbor, but to self and the world, and feel delight in fraud; and the goodness, honesty and justice derived from fraud are evil, dishonesty, and injustice, and these are what are loved by such in their practice of goodness, honesty, and justice.

[2] As the life of everyone is determined by these different kinds of love, as soon as men after death enter the world of spirits they are examined to discover their quality, and are joined to those who are in a like love; those in heavenly love to those who are in heaven, and those in corporeal love to those who are in hell. Also after they have passed through the first and second state they are so separated as to see or know each other no longer; for each one becomes his own love, both in respect of his interiors pertaining to his mind, and in respect of his exteriors pertaining to his face, body, and speech; for each becomes an image of his own love, even in externals.

Those who are corporeal loves appear gross, dusky, black and misshapen; while those who are heavenly loves appear fresh, bright, fair and beautiful. Also in their minds and thoughts they are wholly unlike, those who are heavenly loves being intelligent and wise, while those who are corporeal loves are stupid and, as it were, foolish.

[3] When it is granted to behold the interiors and exteriors of thought and affection of those who are in heavenly love, their interiors appear like light, and some like a flamy light, while their exteriors appear in various beautiful colors like rainbows. But the interiors of those who are in corporeal love appear as if black, because they are closed up; and the interiors of some who were interiorly in malignant deceit appear like a dusky fire. But their exteriors appear of a dirty color, and disagreeable to the sight. (The interiors and exteriors of the mind and "animus" are made visible in the spiritual world whenever the Divine-Human pleases.)

[4] Those who are in corporeal love see nothing in the light of heaven; to them the light of heaven is thick darkness; but the light of hell, which is like light from burning coals, is to them as clear light. Moreover, in the light of heaven their interior sight is so darkened that they become insane; consequently, they shun that light and hide themselves in dens and caverns, more or less at a depth in accordance with the falsities with them derived from their evils. On the other hand, those who are in heavenly love, the more interiorly and deeply they come into the light of heaven, see all things more clearly and all things appear more beautiful to them, and they perceive truths more intelligently and wisely.

[5] It is impossible for those who are in corporeal love to live at all in the heat of heaven, for the heat of heaven is heavenly love; but they can live in the heat of hell, which is the love of raging against others who do not favor them. The delights of that love are contempt of others, enmity, hatred and revenge; and when they are in these delights they are in their life, and have no idea what it is to do good to others from good itself and for the sake of good itself, knowing only what it is to do good from evil and for the sake of evil.

[6] Those who are in corporeal love are unable to breathe in heaven. When any evil spirit is brought into heaven he draws his breath like one struggling in combat; while those who are in heavenly love have a freer respiration and a fuller life the more interiorly they are in heaven. From these things it can be confirmed that heaven with man is heavenly and spiritual love, because on that love all things of heaven are inscribed; also that corporeal love and worldly love apart from heavenly and spiritual love, are hell with man, because on such loves all things of hell are inscribed. From these things it is clear that he whose love is heavenly and spiritual comes into heaven, and he whose love is corporeal and worldly apart from heavenly and spiritual love comes into hell. (HH 481)

The Writings also reveal that every human being is born with the inherited tendency to favor the corporeal life and mentality and to find aversive the rational and heavenly life in the mind. The road that leads to hell is downstream in our affections and impulses, but upstream and effortful when we strive for character reformation. However the more we dilute the corporeal mind and bring it into alignment with the rational, the less attractive we find it, until at last it becomes aversive. At the same time, we find the heavenly rational loves more and more attractive, seeing our freedom and happiness in it.

        12.11.1  Overcoming the Life of Corporeality

There are three basic methods for overcoming the inherited tendency for corporeality--the life of religion, the dictates of conscience, and moral principles. The Writings say that God provides a life of religion to all peoples and cultures by which individuals are able to learn principles of right living and thereby overcome their inherited corporeality. The life of religion is a life of self-compulsion to rational rules revealed by God. Similarly, the dictates of conscience are kept operational in every human being as God, our Divine Psychiatrist, actively participates in what we remember, think, and conclude at any moment of life from birth to eternity. At the same time God maintains operational our ability to reject the dictates of conscience and religion.

We would not be able to reject the dictates of conscience were it not for the power of God in that operation of rejection. We need to understand rationally why God empowers our ability to reject the voice of conscience. Why doesn't God inhibit our ability to reject our conscience? Would this not be a "merciful" and loving thing to do? No, it would not, since the consequence of it would be to shut down all operations of the mind above the corporeal. We would not be able to exercise our rational faculty and our freedom to make choices according to our loves. We would become angel-robots, but not human beings in heaven. Hence God must maintain our ability to reject conscience and rational principles of living. Because we appear to ourselves to have the power to reject the rational and the good, we are able to accept the rational and the good from free choice. All choices made in freedom follow our love, and whatever we choose from love, remains in our mind forever. But whatever we choose by compulsion, fear, persuasion, or inclination apart from rationality and principle, is not a choice from love and therefore flows away from us and disappear.

Note carefully the idea of "choosing from love." The external appearance and behavior does not accurately reflect the love from which a person acts in this world. We can act honestly from opposite loves: for instance, acting honestly may be seen as the safest thing to do when there is surveillance in place and punishment for violations. If we are confronted with a situation in which we are convinced that detection is not possible, our true love shows itself by leading us to act fraudulently. Swedenborg interviewed people who had recently arrived into the world of spirits who had lead a seemingly honest life, having earned many honors and awards for their patriotism and contributions to the life of the community. But as soon as they realized where they were, now free from punishment by authorities or an ill reputation, they cast off as it were their external personality, and began a new life with their old loves. Since these loves are corporeal they are utterly hostile to rationality and spiritual freedom. They sink into the corporeal hell in their mind where they encounter others in a similar state of mind. Together they create a social hell with each other from which they cannot being themselves to exit to eternity. Only the rational light of the Spiritual Sun can allow them to rise to their heaven, but when this light comes near them, they instantly turn it into spiritual darkness or irrationality.

Swedenborg reports some experiments that show the character of this mentality:

I can testify from much experience that it is impossible to implant the life of heaven in those who in the world have lived a life opposite to the life of heaven. For there were some who had believed that they would readily receive Divine truths after death, when they heard them from the angels, and that they would believe them, and consequently live a different life, and could thus be received into heaven. But this was tried with very many, although it was confined to those who held this belief; and was permitted in their case that they might learn that repentance is not possible after death.

Some of those with whom the experiment was made understood truths and seemed to receive them; but as soon as they turned to the life of their love they rejected them, and even spoke against them. Others were unwilling to hear them, and at once rejected them. Others wished to have the life of love that they had contracted from the world taken away from them, and to have the angelic life, or the life of heaven, infused in its place. This, too, was permitted to be done; but as soon as the life of their love was taken away they lay as if dead, with their powers gone.

By these and other experiments the simple good were instructed that no one's life can by any means be changed after death; and that an evil life can in no way be changed into a good life, or an infernal life into an angelic life, for every spirit from head to heel is such as his love is, and therefore such as his life is; and to change his life into its opposite is to destroy the spirit completely. The angels declare that it would be easier to turn an owl into a dove, or a horned-owl into a bird of paradise, than to turn an infernal spirit into an angel of heaven. That man after death continues to be such as his life had been in the world can be seen above in the appropriate section (n. 470-484). From all this it can be confirmed that no one can be received into heaven as a result of immediate mercy. (HH 527)

Entering heaven is not a reward and entering hell is not a punishment by some spiritual authority, angel or God. We already have heaven and hell in our mind before we depart the life on earth. What determines our ultimate fate in eternity is the choice we make at our second death, just a short while after we arrive into the world of spirits. We are guaranteed freedom of choice by a loving and merciful God, for in order to feel alive we must be in our loves. If our loves are denied, we shall feel like a robot or zombie, thus without happiness and enthusiasm of a life we can call our own. At the second death we are given the opportunity to rise to our heaven by quieting down all mental operations below it. It's easy to see that if our ruling loves are not heavenly, we would not be able to endure the life of heaven. We are then allowed to sink down into our loves, which are corporeal.

Some people think falsely that they would prefer the life of hell since that's what they love and feel energized by. Indeed, this appearance lasts for awhile. At first when we sink into our own hell, we love it. We love the apparent freedom to do anything one pleases or fantasizes--promiscuous sex with many, the feeling of being led by lusts and cupidities unhampered, the ability to dominate and enslave others who are in a similar hell, the fearlessness, the raw pleasures, giving in to savage and barbarous acts, and so on. This life may appear wonderful and exciting and fulfilling beyond anything imagined. But it doesn't last very long. The life of hell is an endless alternation between abusing others and being abused by them. When we are abused by them we fall under their spell and influence. They do whatever they want with us. We endure unimaginable suffering from their endless and mad cruelties. The suffering is mental, hence there is no limit to it as there is on earth when the physical body is tortured to death. In hell there is no more death, no end to something bad. By the mercy of God the victim is allowed to become the abuser and the abuser becomes the victim of our own insanities. this alternating turn taking of pain and lust is the life we have in a never ending hell.

Swedenborg writes:

There are spirits who desire to return into the body and thus again into the world, and in this manner to obsess men. Such are retained in their own hell, that they may not come near to man. Adulterers and sirens are pre-eminently of this class, as also others. They are sometimes punished with great severity that they may have a horror of that cupidity. The phantasm of a body is induced upon them by the punishing spirits, so that they know no otherwise than that they are actually in a body, so entirely similar is the sensation; nay, such spirits can, as it were, harden the body, and so put them in torture by mangling all their limbs, and breaking them in different ways, accompanied with immense anguish (...) (SE 4207)

The life of hell is governed and administered by "punishing spirits" who are given the power to inflict great pain and terror when given permission for the sake of containing the behavior of people in hell. The attractiveness of hell is only in the initial phases before we are let down to the very bottom of our mind. In that state our life becomes unthinking and unreflective. We are carried by a storm of lusts and furies, like a cork in a giant ocean of waves.


12.11.2  Spiritual Dangers of Sex Outside Marriage



12.12  The Love of Promiscuity and Adultery


In the passage immediately above it is stated that "adulterers and sirens" degenerate into such a low life that it is hardly human. Why is this? Is this not a religious prejudice against sex, what is called "whoredom"? This needs to be seen scientifically. What happens to the mind of adulterers and sirens? Swedenborg writes:

 Licentious love makes a person less and less human and less and less a man, while conjugial love makes a person more and more human and more and more a man. That conjugial love makes a person human is shown and attested by each and every point that we demonstrated to the light of reason in Part One, concerning love and the delights of its wisdom.

As, for example: (1) That a person who is in a state of truly conjugial love becomes more and more spiritual, and the more spiritual anyone is, the more human he is. (2) That he becomes more and more wise, and the wiser anyone is, the more human he is. (3) That in him the interior faculties of the mind are opened more and more, to the point that he sees or intuitively acknowledges the Divine-Human, and the more anyone possesses that sight or acknowledgment, the more human he is. (4) That he becomes more and more moral and law-abiding, because his morality and citizenship contain a spiritual soul, and the more morally law-abiding anyone is, the more human he is. (5) That after death he also becomes an angel of heaven, and an angel in essence and form is human; and moreover a genuine humanity radiates from his face, speech and habits; from which it follows as well that conjugial love makes a person more and more human.

[2] That the reverse is the case with adulterers clearly follows from the fundamental opposition of adultery to marriage, which is and has been the subject of this chapter. Namely, from the following: (1) That they are not spiritual but supremely natural; and the natural self separated from the spiritual self is human merely in respect to the intellect, but not in respect to the will. The natural self immerses the will in the body and lusts of the flesh, and at such times the intellect also accompanies it. That such a person is only half human, he himself can see from the reason of his own intellect, if he elevates it. (2) That adulterers are not wise except in their speech and in the way they also conduct themselves when in company with people prominent in status, with people renowned for their learning, or with people who are moral; but that alone among themselves they are insane, regarding the Divine and holy things of the church as meaningless, and defiling the moralities of life with shameless and unchaste depravities, as we will show in the chapter on adultery. Who does not see that such impostors are human only in respect to their external figure, and that in respect to their internal form they are not human?

(3) In my case, that I have personally observed that adulterers become less and less human from seeing them in hell, which has served me as clear confirmation of the fact. For in hell they are demons, and when seen in the light of heaven, their faces are as though full of pustules, their bodies as though hunchbacked, their speech rough, and their gestures theatrical.

[3] It should be known, however, that it is purposeful and deliberate adulterers who are of such a character, and not unthinking adulterers. For there are four kinds of adulterers (as discussed in the chapter on adultery and its degrees): purposeful adulterers, who are prompted by a lust of the will; deliberate adulterers, who prompted by a persuasion of the intellect; cognizant adulterers, who are prompted by enticements of the senses; and unthinking adulterers, who do not possess the ability or freedom to consult the intellect. It is the first two kinds of adulterers who become less and less human. But the second two kinds become human as they retreat from those errors and afterwards become wise. (CL 432)

You can see from these actual observations that adultery is a form of behavior that is opposed to the order of the spiritual world in which we live after death. It is not a matter of religious judgment or dogma. God created a heaven in our mind and this heaven is based on the life of conjugial love, which is the life of monogamous marriage between a husband and a wife who are soul mates and form a unity together as One Angel. This is the built in form of our heaven. It is not possible to change it without falling out of heaven. Deliberate adultery justified by some type of materialistic reasoning destroys the life of heaven in us which is based on conjugial love. This is the reason God has made marriage into a religious sacrament and requirement. Marriage is the foundation of heaven. Adultery is the destruction of this foundation. But note also that there are varieties of adultery depending on their mental basis and motive, some more grave than others.


AC 5060. Who exactly correspond to the testicles has in a similar way been made clear to me from those whose love is the opposite of conjugial love and who strike pain into the testicles. For when communities are at work they act into those parts and members of the body to which they correspond - heavenly communities acting into them by an influx that is gentle, sweet, and delightful, hellish communities who love the opposite of what is heavenly by an influx that is vicious and causes pain. Yet their influx is not perceptible to any except those whose interiors have been opened and who as a consequence are able to perceive their communication with the spiritual world. Those whose love is the opposite of conjugial love and who strike pain into the testicles are spirits who use love, friendship, and kind deeds to behave treacherously. When such spirits came near me they wished to talk to me in secret, being very much afraid that someone else might be present with us. For this is what those spirits were like during their lifetime, and being such then, they are no different in the next life. For everyone's life follows on with him.

[2] From the region round Gehenna there once rose up something so to speak air-like and barely visible. It was a band of spirits who were like those just described. But after that, although there were quite a number of them, they looked to me like a single spirit, who was impeded by bandages which however he seemed to himself to remove. This was a sign meaning their desire to remove obstructions, for in the world of spirits representative images like this one serve to reveal people's thoughts and intentions, and as soon as those images are seen their meaning is recognized instantly. After this, one who looked like a small snowy-white spirit seemed to come out of that band of spirits and to make his way towards me. This was a representation of their thought and intention, which was a wish to assume a state of innocence so that no one could suspect them of being what they were in fact like. When he reached me he stooped down towards my loins, where he seemed to wind himself all round them. This represented their wish to present themselves as spirits filled with chaste conjugial love. After this he seemed to twist like a coil around my feet, which represented their wish to worm their way in by means of such things as are naturally delightful. At length the small spirit became practically invisible, which represented their wish to lie completely out of sight.

[3] Angels told me that worming their way in like this is characteristic of those who deal treacherously in respect of conjugial love. That is to say, being intent on committing adultery with other men's wives they would worm their way in, when they were in the world, by talking about conjugial love in a chaste and wholesome manner, by fondling the children and praising the husband in every possible way. They did all this so as to be considered friendly, chaste, and above suspicion, when in fact they were deceitful adulterers. Such being their true nature therefore, this was revealed, for once the incidents described above had taken place, the small snowy-white spirit became visible again. But now he had a dusky and very black appearance, and also a misshapen one. He was cast out into his own hell, which too was deep down below the middle of the loins, where the inhabitants live among utterly disgusting excrement, and also among the robbers, described in 4327, who correlate with general and involuntary sensory activity. I have spoken subsequently to spirits of this kind, who have been amazed that anyone should have any conscientious objection to committing adultery, that is to say, that his conscience should forbid him to lie with another man's wife even if allowed to do so. Indeed when I have talked to them about conscience they have refused to believe that anyone possesses a conscience. I have been told that spirits like these come mainly from the Christian world, and only rarely do any come from other parts. (AC 5060)



12.12.1  Taxonomy of Adulteries

Swedenborg discusses the degrees of destruction of the celestial marriage in our heaven:


No one who judges of it only on the basis of outward appearances can know that there is any evil in adultery; for in outward appearances it bears a resemblance to marriage. When internal qualities are mentioned, and those superficial judges are told that external actions draw their goodness or evil from them, they say to themselves, "What are internal qualities? Who sees them? Is this not something that transcends the realm of anyone's intelligence?"

Such people are of the same character as those who accept all affected good as genuine and sincere, and who estimate a person's wisdom in accordance with the elegance of his speech. Or they are like those who esteem the man himself in accordance with the fineness of his clothing and the grandness of the carriage in which he rides, and not in accordance with his inner deportment, which has to do with his judgment arising from his affection for good. It is also comparable to judging of a tree's fruit or any provender simply by its look and feel, and not considering its goodness by the way it tastes and what one knows about it. Thus do all do who are averse to discerning anything of a person's internal qualities.

From this originates the madness of many today, that they do not see anything evil in adulterous affairs - indeed, that they put marriage and adultery together in the same bed, in other words, make them alike; and this simply because of their seeming similarity in outward appearances.

[2] I was convinced of the fact of this by the evidence of the following experience: Some angels once called together several hundred people from the European world, of those distinguished for their genius, learning and wisdom there; and they questioned them about the difference between marriage and adultery, asking them to consult the rational considerations of their intellect. After consulting then, all but ten replied that statutory law alone makes a distinction, and this for the sake of some beneficial end, an end which can indeed be defined, but yet be accommodated through judicial discretion. The angels next asked them whether they saw anything good in marriage or anything evil in adultery. They replied that they saw no rational evil or good. When asked whether they saw anything sinful in the latter, they said, "In what respect? Is not the act the same?"

The angels were stunned at these responses and exclaimed, "Oh, how extraordinary and how great the grossness of the age!"

When they heard that, the hundreds of the wise assembled turned around and guffawing said to each other, "Is this grossness? What possible wisdom is there to convince us that to make love to another's wife is deserving of eternal damnation?"

[3] Adultery, however, is a spiritual evil, and therefore a moral evil and a civil evil, diametrically opposed to the wisdom of reason. The love in adultery also ascends from hell and descends back to it, while the love in marriage descends from heaven and ascends back to it. This we showed at the outset of this second part, in the chapter on the opposition of licentious love to conjugial love.

But because all evils, like all goods, are allotted a breadth and a height, and because according to that breadth they have their kinds and according to that height their degrees, therefore in order that adulteries may be distinguished in respect to both dimensions, we will divide them first into their kinds and afterwards into their degrees. This we will do according to the following outline:

(1) There are three kinds of adultery: simple adultery, double adultery, and triple adultery.

(2) Simple adultery is the adultery of an unmarried man with the wife of another, or of an unmarried woman with the husband of another.

(3) Double adultery is the adultery of a married man with the wife of another, or vice versa.

(4) Triple adultery is adultery with close blood relatives.

(5) There are four degrees of adultery, which affect accordingly subsequent attributions of it, convictions, and, after death, imputations.

(6) Adulteries of the first degree are adulteries of ignorance, which are committed by people who are not yet able to or cannot consult the intellect and so prevent them.

(7) Adulteries committed by such people are mild.

(8) Adulteries of the second degree are adulteries of lust, which are committed by people who are indeed able to consult the intellect, but for reasons of circumstance at the moment cannot.

(9) Adulteries committed by such people are imputable to them according as their intellect afterwards sanctions them or does not sanction them.

(10) Adulteries of the third degree are adulteries of the reason, which are committed by people who intellectually persuade themselves that they are not sinful evils.

(11) Adulteries committed by such people are grave and are imputed to them in accordance with their persuasions.

(12) Adulteries of the fourth degree are adulteries of the will, which are committed by people who make them allowable and pleasurable, and not of sufficient consequence to merit consulting the intellect in regard to them.

(13) Adulteries committed by such people are the most grave and are imputed to them as purposeful evils, and they become settled in them as culpable offenses.

(14) Adulteries of the third and fourth degree are sinful evils according to the measure and nature of the intellect and will in them, whether they are committed in act or not.

(15) Purposeful adulteries arising from the will, and deliberate adulteries arising from a persuasion of the intellect, render a person natural, sensual and carnal.

(16) And this to the point that they finally cast away from them everything having to do with the church and religion.

(17) Nevertheless, they still possess human rationality like others.

(18) Yet they use their rationality only when engaged in their outward lives, but abuse it when engaged in their inner ones. (CL 478)



((((In what manner a female is born an innocence and in what way a male. How the female becomes the affection of good, and the male the understanding of truth. In what way the female becomes the affection of truth, which occurs when she desires to marry; also in what way the male becomes the understanding of truth, which also then happens, when he wishes to love the female sex.

1. How this next increases, with each, till marriage takes place; and how the understanding of truth then controls the affection of truth, and they are united.))))

2. ((What the feminine is, and what the masculine, interiorly. The feminine, interiorly, is to love the husband tenderly - but they desire the husband to be ignorant of this; thus, he governs, and those who are not in the ability of doing so, become impotent. The wives of the angels said that I must not disclose this; but I said I would reveal it. This was because they suppose that this was their weakness; but it is the very good of truth and truth of good.))

3. ((How two married partners become one form of love through conjugial love.)) ((((((From the uniting of minds results the form of the bodies. - The forms of men, according to affections and understanding thence, or the things of love and the things of wisdom thence.)))))) ((((This is the image and likeness of God, Genesis [1:26].)))) ((Potency goes on increasing until it becomes perpetual.))

4. ((Many reasons why a man wishes the woman to refuse. With some it is the lust of violating; with some it is the result of adultery; with some it is the excitation of potency thereby. It is from various causes, and especially from mental ones. They at length become like cats, which tear each other, stand still, gaze at one another, howl miserably, and wish to do it by stealth. The women are furious that this is disclosed. They declare, as if from interior will, that they do not desire it. The reason is, because potency vanishes if they do otherwise.))

5. ((The mere conclusion in the mind, that adultery is not sin, renders a man an adulterer; - [shown] from those things which have been said on this subject in The Doctrine of Life.* Every conclusion in the mind constitutes endeavor in the body, which is the essential act.))

((I inquired, respecting cats, why they possess such a nature as they do. It was stated, that, with the female cat, the pleasure of fighting is first excited, and that this is observed by the male cat, and, when this passes off, copulation takes place.))

6. ((I told adulterers, that, in heaven, there is perpetual potency; and they said, if they had known this in the world, they would never have committed whoredom, so that they might come into heaven. But I said, that, in heaven, it is permitted to love only the married partner, in hell to commit whoredom at pleasure; [and I asked] whether, in this case, they would wish to be in hell, or in heaven; but I was unable to extort a reply from them.))

7. ((If a man concentrates his love upon his wife, by shunning adultery as sin, then love with its potency increases daily; but if men take from that love and consume it with harlots, conjugial love becomes like chaff, and dies.))

8. (([I mentioned] about a woman, that she said, that it is impossible to love one's wife, because it becomes usual. But the angels said that she is mistaken; and that what is usual, when love is truly conjugial, is the plane in which enjoyments form themselves, from within, as upon a rose bed; and that every separate rose becomes a plane in which interior enjoyments are formed and variegated, and this to eternity.))

9. ((Fury as it were inflames infernals, when they become sensible of the sphere of conjugial love, - from much experience.

10. (((((Married partners together, or conjugial love, is the very image and likeness of God,))))) ((adultery destroys it.))

11. ((Hell is infuriated when those there perceive the sphere of conjugial love, - from experience, as it were, out of heaven.))

12. ((When adultery is thought permissible, it exists in endeavor in the whole body.))

13. ((Every man is some affection in a form; if a charity, he is in an angelic form: the kind of affections he then has are lambs and doves.))

14. ((Marriage is like the marriage of the will and understanding, or of affection and thought, in all and every single thing, because it is [the union] of good and truth. The conjunction, or marriage, of these, may be illustrated by the marriage of sound and speech, in which it may be clearly seen. As speech is the form of sound, so man may be described as the form of the wife; they are one flesh; a man shall cleave to his wife; the wife is the man's soul, and life, or is the heart of the man; but neither knows anything else than that the other is his, or hers, and that each is the other's reciprocally and mutually.))

15. ((((The nerves are softer in women; the veins somewhat wider, and the arteries stronger [than] in men: the hips broader, because the hips signify conjugial love, see Arcana Coelestia.))))

16. ((Unless eternity, or eternal conjunction, be thought of, a woman is not a wife, but a concubine; and from the lack of the idea of eternity, conjugial love perishes.))

17. ((The bond must be on this side and on that, or forward and back; if not, there is no conjugial love. The bond, on this side and that, is, that the wife's affection be in the man's understanding, and the man's understanding be in the wife. And, nevertheless, it does not become eternal. If angelic spirits speak of these two things in the world of spirits, the hells are agitated, and those who are leagued with the hells are as if infuriated.))

18. ((In heaven, the wife is spiritual heat, and the husband spiritual light.))

19. ((A beautiful celestial and spiritual woman is beauty itself, or the form of beauty and of good. From the Lord, as regards every created work in the universe, it is manifest that there does not exist anything more beautiful than a virgin.))

20. ((How the husband's life enters the wife, through the thighs, and by means of love. How truth then becomes good, or understanding, the will of the wife, and how, finally, the husband's understanding becomes the form of the wife's affection. Thus, how it is to be understood that the wife was formed from Adam's rib, and that Adam said, Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; also, that they shall become one flesh, and that a man shall cleave to his wife.))

21. ((The delight of rape: the hell of those in that delight is cadaverous: why -. The delight of deflowering: the quality of whoredom. What kind of delight the delight of variety is: those in it become like male mice. What, and of what sort, is the pleasure of committing adultery with the wife of another. Of what nature the pleasure of fornication with a man who has a wife, is. The pleasure of having a concubine before marriage: of what nature it is: that it is permitted: how, and to whom.))

22. (((Conjugial love is innocence itself - from the case of Adam. - It is chastity itself, and purity itself, - from its origin, and from correspondence, from its playfulness like that of children. A representation [thereof] in grubs, when they become butterflies.)))

23. (((Laws of divorce: (1) whoredom; (2) desertion; (3) diseases, etc. Why it is not allowable to take a divorced woman, or one irregularly cast off.)))

24. ((((From chaste conjugial love, a wife and a virgin have beauty, and a man wisdom.))))

25. ((There is no lasciviousness in conjugial love, for lasciviousness is unchaste. There is the identical sensation with those who are in conjugial love; consequently, there is nothing unclean, but pure. It appears as if there were, but yet there is not. The reason is, because inwardly in conjugial love, even to the ultimates, is heaven, and inwardly in the love of adultery is hell; and the ultimates of each appear similar, as to their delights, but yet they are not. The difference is not perceived except by conjugial love.

26. It was said by the ancients, that like-seeming delights were signified by Cerberus, who stands at the entrance and keeps watch, lest the delight of heavenly love descend into hell.))

27. ((Conjugial love looks continually to two being one, or one flesh. If conjugial love do not look to this, [the love] is the love of adultery. They [i.e. a man and wife] are able to become one, more and more, to eternity.

28. A male child is truth from good in the natural man. This truth is born from the good of the spiritual man in the natural man; but it is from the marriage of good and truth in the spiritual man. Hence daughters and sons are goods and truths in the natural man - see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 543; see, also, respecting Primogeniture.))

29. ((Of what kind the love of inmost friendship is among them. The inmost of friendship is continual, and constitutes the heavenly delight of companionship. The distinction of that love from the love of conjunction. Of what nature the difference is. This difference is not known to adulterers: they instantly believe that the wife desires conjunction, when she says that she loves her husband.))

30. (((It was related out of heaven, that the Most Ancients, who were celestial, called conjugial love the chief of all loves, and the very delight of life, and [said] that love towards children is the nearest derivation from it.)))

31. ((Of what character love towards children, which is storge, is with the evil: they see themselves in them, since the soul of the father is in them. This love conjoins married partners; but in what way, and with what difference,))

32. ((A female becomes a female after death, and a male becomes a male; and mutual and reciprocal love remains. For which reason, it cannot be otherwise than that this [love] remains.))

33. There is sometimes an investigation by angels, previous to a betrothing, as to whether there exists the reciprocal of love. If not, they recognize the fact of themselves; and this is from the Lord. Festivities occur when marriages take place, but with a difference according to societies.))

34. ((What supremacy effects in marriage, either by the man or the woman. What the submission is that arises from hyper-conscientiousness. What that which arises from excessive simplicity, in him, or in her: what the persuasion, or belief, that whoredom is not sin [effects])).

35. (((The infernal marriage, with those who are in the love of ruling and are atheists. On the part of the man there is deadly hatred. But, still, he is manifestly the servant and slave of the wife, so that he dares not murmur against her will: but [this], when she, by various means, has obtained the ascendancy. The reason is, because the man's understanding is subjugated.)))

36. (((These have no interior virtue and honor: consequently, [such a one] is not a man. The adulterer is unjust, unfaithful, insincere, an iniquitous violator of a covenant, lying, shameless. He has no interior justice or interior fidelity, no interior sincerity, interior truth, interior shame; thus, no honor nor interior virtue. What such a one is interiorly, and what such a one is exteriorly, such, then, is the man.)))

37. (((Truth is from good, through which is the Church; and good is from the Lord. And since the Lord inflows through good into truth, therefore angels, and men in the churches, receive the Lord's good in truths: hence is the marriage of good and truth in angel and man.)))

38. (((If a man decides that adultery is not a sin, he is an adulterer for, the conclusion is from the will and the understanding together: there is also intention in it. Hence is interior will, which is effort; which effort reigns in the whole man. The nature of effort.)))

39. ((The conjunction of good and truth takes place because the Lord looks on man in the forehead, and man at the Lord through the eyes. The forehead is the love of the will, or good; and the eyes are the understanding, consequently truth. It is on this account that it is said that man is a recipient of love in wisdom, or of good in truth. All the angels turn the face to the Lord. The reigning love turns all to itself, and they follow it.))

40. ((Man's spirit co-operates in the sexual embrace, because the spiritual in its first origin is sown forth. Nevertheless, man's spirit inflows into the natural. In man's spirit, the inmost is the conjunction of good and truth, or of delight, which imitates good, and of propriety, which imitates truth. Therefore, when angels and spirits embrace, it takes place in a similar manner. They conceive and bring forth nothing but those things which are of love and wisdom; for no prolification occurs, apart from the natural.

41. ((All concupiscences of evil spring from adultery; for that is their very form. The adulterer is confirmed by its being permitted; which, also, brings it about that he is not able to acknowledge God in heart, nor to be conjoined with the Lord, consequently neither with heaven, because his delight is entirely opposed to spiritual delight. At length he becomes in the highest degree sensual, corporeal and material, and thinks and speaks from the things visible to the eye and the things received by the ear, which alone he stores in the memory.))

42. ((((Affection is the all of thought, just as sound is the all of speech: from this it may be known that man is such as his affection. By that single rule, it may be known what thought is in its essence and life, and what chaste thought is, and unchaste, and whence.

43. What in sound is of concupiscence, and what from sound. Man in the world knows but little what is in sounds; but angels know perfectly.))))

44. ((Love of the married partner does not result from the sexual embrace, as with adulterers, but the sexual embrace from the love of the partner; so that the love of the partner does not depend on the fire of that organ, but the reverse. The love of the partner is full of delights, irrespective of sexual intercourse, and is a delightful dwelling together. Between that love apart from the sexual embrace, and the sexual embrace itself, there is a determination, just as there is between that which a man thinks from the will, which is intention, and act, or speech. Between these, intervenes determination, which is as it were the opening of the mind to doing a thing, like the opening of a door.))

45. ((((((Why it is not allowed to contract matrimony between certain relations of consanguinity. What is the punishment, - from Leviticus.))))))

46. (((In the next place, the reasons why fornication dissolves marriages. Why it is not lawful to marry a divorced woman. How the case is with marriage between persons of different religion.)))

47. ((((The Papists prefer celibacy and virginity to matrimony; but it is on account of monks and nuns in monasteries. It is pernicious.))))

48. (((Many descriptions are to be given of the state of conjugial love prior to the state in which the effect is. The prior state ought altogether to precede marriage, and love from that, without thought of the state following. Then, marriage is happy and lasting; but, so far as it partakes of the posterior state alone, so far is it lacking. I heard certain ones saying that they do not know anything of the state following; nor did they think about it when they desired a wife, and saw her. Such is the state of maidens. Such is the chaste state.)))

49. ((([Show] from experience that the delights of the earlier state are indefinite. They approach closely and more closely to the state following, but yet do not enter it. It appears as if they open it, but yet it is not so. Between the earlier and the later state, there intervenes something which is to be called determination, almost like what occurs between thinking and willing. The later state contains in itself the whole of the earlier, and all its delights; also, the delights of that are likewise indefinite. The prior state is the state of conjugial friendship, which surpasses all friendship.)))

50. (((With whom the earlier state exists separate from the later; and with whom both. With whom it does not exist.)))

51. ((((What joint potency those enjoy, who, together and separately, are in the earlier [state]; and what those who are in the later state only.))))

52. ((Virgins who have imbibed piety to the extent of a certain melancholy, become peevish wives, nor can they be among the happy in heaven - from experience; consequently, those who have lived in monasteries.

53. Of what character is the body of a married man, and of what character the body of a married woman, as compared with their bodies in the earlier state, or previous to the desire for marriage; as compared with adulterers and adulteresses; as compared with the bodies of young men, of adults, and of old men. Of what quality the same are as regards mind, or as regards spirit.

54. [They enjoy] delights and pleasures by the mere touch of hands and of lips, when they think from love, such things from the Word, from objects, from various concordant delights, as are applicable. They have exquisite sensations of their separate, and of their common [states]. These arise from the delights of affection and thought, and of the conjunction thereof; and the sensation is the more exquisite as the conjunction is more interior. That there is such delight from the conjunction of female and male, is because there is such [from that] of good and truth. There are still more delights of conjunction of the external senses, as of sight, of hearing, of smell; particularly of the respiration, in which innumerable things lie concealed: they lie concealed especially in the sound itself of the speech.))

55. (((Various fears on the wife's account: as, for example, (1) lest she prove barren; (2) lest, from disdain, [she prove] of unsound mind, or silly, (3) a cause of disquiet, (4) by reason of quarrels, (5) from various causes in one's self; also from various causes in the wife - as, that she must have an allowance, as in Holland; that she must be well treated at home; that she must eat and drink well, for example, when she is sick; and this appears like loving the wife; but it is not the fear of the wife, but it is fear on account of the wife.

But the fear of conjugial love is lest the wife be injured by any evil, or disgrace. In a word, he fears to do her harm because he loves her. This fear is the fear of the wife, and not fear on account of the wife.

56. Various despisings on the wife's account. Various enmities and hatreds on account of the wife, from various reasons. Various antipathies on the wife's account.

57. ((Appendix. - It may be confirmed that Light is darkness, and darkness light, from the fact that if man had eyes like an owl [it would be so to him]. It may be confirmed that the confirmation of falsity corresponds to that light.))

58. ((The confirmation that adultery is allowable, may be compared to the confirmation that light is darkness and darkness light.))

59. ((Marriage, in a Divine sense, is the marriage of Love and Wisdom in God, which were one, because the Love is of Wisdom, and the Wisdom of Love. Hence is [the marriage-love] of the Lord and the Church which love is reciprocal, according to the Lord's words. From this is the marriage of good and truth: [show] how. The marriage is reciprocal, but it is of good; and this marriage is in image and in likeness, in the marriage of two who are conjoined by love truly conjugial.

60. A man is born to be truth, and a wife, to be good. He turns himself, concerning which turning. Man's nature at birth; and woman's nature at birth. You may see what boys are, see, also, what girls are.))

61. (Love truly conjugial is, at the beginning, like as man being reformed, and afterwards regenerated. It inverts itself; and, when it has inverted itself, the man's love proceeds from the wife's love, and as is the latter such is the former. In like manner is circumstanced the conjunction of good and truth, in beginning, in progression, and in end; and this is, that a man shall cleave to his wife. Then the affection of good does the first things. In the earlier state, also, there is lasciviousness. The nature of the later state.)

62. ((The reason why all desire to boast that they are powerful, and that they are esteemed, and also to be believed to be strong, etc.; - soldiers in particular.

63. How the seed is distributed through the body in all directions, is received by the soul [anima] which is in the whole body, thus in the fibers and vessels everywhere, and then delights, - gives pleasure to the wife, and fills with delight;)) (and thus is she formed into the form of the man. This is, Bone and flesh of my bone and flesh. How it produces intelligence in him; and how it produces impregnation.)

64. (It is allowable to love a pregnant wife. The reasons are numerous; the arguments against it apply to the weakly: also during impotence and [in case of] adulteries.)

65. (Christian spirits cannot endure the spiritual sphere of the feminine and the masculine. They cannot endure the spiritual sphere of conjugial love; and the hells, at such times, are roused to fury. They cannot endure the sphere of nakedness between married partners; and, at such times, flee away. They cannot endure any sphere of love from a married partner. They loathe the sphere of customary [intercourse]; that is, when conjunction with the wife becomes ordinary, or freely permitted, it produces nausea.)

66. ((Adultery with another's wife destroys all the delight of life between husband and wife, and induces dislike of the other, and also destroys care for the children - that is, a mother's and a father's care; at the same time, it leads to separation. It destroys the Conjugial. The adulterer does not see this, unless he thinks about his own wife, if any adulterer should defile her.))

67. ((Evil spirits cannot at all bear the idea, and consequently the spiritual sphere, of the feminine [nature]. They cry out as if tortured, and flee away, - from experience; but they can endure it when it is veiled under the sphere, or idea, of adultery.))

68. ((The purest touch causes the interiors, which are the seed, to be called forth. It goes to the inmosts in the body, and into the liquids; into the animal spirits, or into the spiritual [parts] themselves: hence prolification. There is also; at that time, a communication of the inmosts [with] the outermosts; thus, it is from firsts through lasts.))

69. ((The excitation of adultery is external, from lust, from the touch of the bodies, especially of the parts of generation. It is external; just as one touches a friend with a feather, and tickles him. It is called external because there is no feeling in a feather. But with those who are in conjugial love, the delights of that love are communicated; which are the wife's when they are the husband's. The wife's [delight] flows into the feeling of the husband, so that the very sensations and delights are mutually and alternately communicated. Thus lascivious love is altogether different from conjugial love.))

70. ((Conjugial love does not exist save with man: the reasons. The nature of the analogous love with beasts.))

71. ((About the English - the lords - who entice the beautiful wives of others to themselves, by means of money, and live together with them for months, and afterwards send them back. These do similarly [in the other life]; and those who entice to themselves the wives of others are at once exposed, and are severely punished.

72. They are punished with the punishment of rending, which is among the severest of all. They said, that, after punishment, they do [not] know whether their limbs hold together; and they lie a long time in bed: also, if they do not desist, they are cast down into hell. They who desisted in the world, because it is a sin, desist in the other life; and those who desisted for other reasons, do not desist.))

73. ((On the 29th day of April, 1765, I saw removed out of societies English lords, who, in the world, enticed the beautiful wives of others, and lived with them, until they were no longer pleasing to them. There was a multitude. They were separated from the societies, and let down to lower places, to be examined as to whether they had ever performed repentance afterwards, and had believed it to be contrary to the Divine Laws.))

74. ((Respecting circumcision: it was a representative that sensual corporeal love, which is self-love, must be removed. Why it was done with stone knives - because truths remove [evils]. Why abolished. For what reason, when the sons of Israel entered the land of Canaan, by which is signified the spiritual Church, they were again circumcised.))

75. ((The majority say, that, when the delight of marriage becomes customary, it becomes worthless, and as it were vanishes away. It is otherwise with those who are in conjugial love. With them, the habitual experience becomes the plane of interior delights, comparatively like a flower-bed, because it is the external. With those who are in lascivious love, the interiors, which are lascivious, depart with the potency, and hence arises cold, in consequence of which the general plane as it were dies.))

76. ((With those with whom marriage is lascivious, also with adulterers, with whom the woman's love is not communicated to the man, the man's proprial affection then causes this. Man has a proprial affection which does not make one with the woman's affection wherefore, both recede.

77. It is that affection which produces this but it is quickly, consumed and burned up. It is otherwise when the woman's affection flows into the man's understanding, as happens with the angels of heaven: from this cause they have intelligence in their life.))

78. ((Respecting whoredom in Paul, 1 Cor. 6:15-19, 7:4: read Ephes. 5:28-33, where marriage is compared with Christ and the Church. 1 Thess. 4:3, 4.))

79. ((Marriages are seed-plots of men, and thus seed-plots of heaven.))

80. ((The marriage of evil and falsity originates from the marriage of good and truth through the influx of good and truth, and of heaven; and, then, by inversion, - respecting which, experiences are to be related. But [show] what this is, as it exists with adulterers. The evil man feels evil as good, and falsity as truth. Hence, also, such are among serpents, basilisks, mice, owls, screech-owls, tigers.))

81. ((All things may be reduced to a marriage. Therefore, the not-good and truth may exist together, but not the truth of good and the falsity of evil: the falsity not of evil, can, by means of ideas, be turned to somewhat good.))

82. ((If beauty only, and not good, conjoins, it is adultery; this, also, is not human, except so far as it is believed that the beauty is from good, which is the very esse of beauty. That goodness also appears in the face is known from merely natural science.)) (((The nature of horror in genuine conjugial love, and in not-genuine. The nature of fear, in those two.))) (SE 6110)

Each point is further dealt with in the subsequent paragraphs. When you study this evidence it becomes clear that marriage is the foundation of a heavenly life and that adultery destroys it. When people begin to see the effects of adultery in a scientific way, rather than religious, they will be even more motivated to avoid it, since it can then no longer be dismissed as dogma.


12.13  The Love of Corrupting Innocence




12.14  The Hatred of God and Heaven


SE 3358
Continuation on the adulterous later descendants of the corrupted most ancient Church
These dwell under the earth, under a great rock midway in the deep beneath the buttocks, and there they remain in their dreadful fantasies against the Lord, treating the Lord in most cruel ways. About these wicked things I am not permitted to write. They are at a very great depth beneath the buttocks, laboring with their fantasies, and I am allowed and let in order to hear this: it is an uproar that is heard, and also felt in both buttocks, causing them to twitch, as I now observe. (SE 3358)

3359. Such spirits are not allowed to ascend, but occasionally the rock becomes thinner, so to speak, and then they are even heard from down there as they were by me. Depending on the hardness of the intervening rock they can be heard and can operate into the higher realm. For that rock portrays symbolically how distant their persuasive wicked aura is from the auras up above. In this manner they are held back.

3360. Some of them, quite a lot, were let in to work into me directly, but the Lord had arranged by means of intermediate spirits that they should do me no harm. Then from that depth, they came forward, as if through the rock, and seemed to themselves to be contriving for themselves a route toward the front through the hollows of the rock, and then upwards. This was only a portrayal of the Lord's arranging by means of spirits in between that they should do no harm in the higher realm.

3361. They appeared finally higher up toward the left, from there working into me. Afterwards they were also permitted to come right up to me, even to my head, whereupon other spirits withdrew. Toward the right higher up were some who spoke with me, not allowing [those evil spirits] to operate, and the good spirits were speaking with me for very long, [while the others] were pouring in [their persuasions] until I was almost weary of hearing the good spirits speaking, for due to their persuasion poured into me, I seemed to myself to want to speak with them.

3362. Good spirits kept on saying that [those spirits] are let in to work into the right part of the head, not into the left, and from the right part of the head into the left side of the thorax, but by no means into the left side of the head-in which case, they said, I would be lost. They were speaking about this for such a long time, as said before, to the point of weariness and irritation. I considered that it would do no harm if I spoke with [those spirits].

3363. By the right part of the head and the left side of the thorax is meant that they were allowed to operate by means of desires, pouring in evil and raving passions, and this kind of action, and then thinking and speaking out of desires, thus consciously; but not into the left side of the head, which would be with their dreadful persuasion, for it is their nature (as I was later instructed, somewhat by experience) to be of this persuasion because almost their [whole] inward part is so hostile toward the Lord that with whatever they say, they pour in the strongest conviction, thus driving away everything good and true. It is no different than when the toes or fingers are frostbitten and have no more feeling, as if they were dead and without circulation, as is well known.

This is the nature of persuasion, and such had [these descendants] been, and even worse, together with all their troops, against which the Lord fought and which He conquered by His own powers. This could never have been, without His Divine: thus also His Human Essence was victorious.

3364. As they began to work into me, I fell asleep, and then through passions that I would not have resisted in wakefulness they worked into me, and I had an oppressive dream, nor am I now able to describe what it was like, and what the oppressiveness consisted of, for their passions are indescribable. I can only say that they finally approached me to kill me by a blowing. Then in a dream I saw that they were approaching to suffocate me, and then I felt what seemed like a dreadful weight, caused only by the collective blast, I suppose, of their fantasies. There was such a kind of weight upon me that I was struggling back, but still struggling [I realized] that it was the Lord working in this way so that I would turn over onto my other side. Then I awoke.

3365. When I awoke, they were seen to be fleeing away to their own place higher up, and from there they were working but to no effect. Finally, when I wanted to drive them away from me, they seemed to be wrapped up in a cloth, like those who had been wrapped in a woollen cloth [3298]-I thought it was they. Then they were let down by a rock slanting in a straight line, to some depth. It was a hard rock leaning downwards, straight in its whole length. When they had come about halfway, then the cloth wrapping was unrolled, and small human bodies were seen to go out from it, a multitude, about which it was said that they were the ones they had carried off, all acquaintances of mine. They also poured in something of the persuasion to the effect that by their frosty and noxious persuasion they could kill anyone they came across. But those little people were seen to escape from there, so they were the ones that had been wrapped up by them in a woollen cloth, and preserved-not acquaintances, but others, so that I would learn how they work. For just when [my acquaintances] appear to be wrapped up, they wrap up others by their persuasions, but the wrapping up is preservation, lest their persuasions operate more strongly than they may endure, and so that they may come out of it better [than before].

3366. Afterwards they operated at that middle distance, at that location, by means of dreadful fantasies that I was not permitted to grasp or see so well, for they were most cruel ones against the Lord, Whom they mangled, dismembered, and tore to pieces by dreadfully cruel methods in which their pleasure, and thus their life, consists, and in such their turmoil under the rock. For the fantasies operate simultaneously with passions, and that is what Mark says regarding the temptations of the Lord in the wilderness, that He fought with the wild beasts, and was abandoned to them [1:13].

3367. While they were operating at that halfway point of the rock, there was heard a constant drilling sound, as though very many large drills were at work, and only the crude sound of them was heard. That sound spread out not only toward me but to a great distance from me toward the right, where those good spirits still were, thus far away at a great distance, so that they might talk with me. So the arrangement of the grand man in the world of spirits seemed to have been changed.

3368. Moreover, there was a spirit toward the right who thought all these things were real-that the Lord had been tormented by them in this way, that they had carried off all my acquaintances, and many more things of which he was persuaded. Yet he was not evil, because the tone of despair in his voice had been caused by a gust of their dreadful persuasion, from afar. All these things occurred in a wakeful state.

3369. Meanwhile, I was also in a sweet sleep, feeling nothing. Whether what I said about that spirit occurred before the sweet sleep, or after it, I am not sure.

3370. When I awoke from the pleasant sleep, then I saw human bodies as if floating in the sea, some also crawling, as if dead, but still human; later also some limp, lifeless. About them it was im-parted to me that such perished in this way before the flood, and became dead spirits. Others said that they were dead, and therefore would perish, others that they had been like this for centuries, and had thereby been purged, and that when those qualities that were so dreadful had perished, they would come to life again by means of remains [of goodness]. These remains would be tempered with evils that they can live with, and would develop a character, purged by the death of their worst fantasies and their worst passions, just as certain kinds of rainbows appear symbolically.

Hence it is now being imparted to me that the rainbow became a sign that the human race would not perish, because they can come to life again, and their few remains [of goodness] can be tempered with their most obvious evils and with some even with their nearly most obvious, so that they would still live as spirits. Thus the life of their fantasies and passions would perish and remain such, for nothing can perish except by such a death.

3371. Later from the halfway place they were forced to withdraw through their dark hollows back under the rock where they dwell and from where they operate turbulently into the buttocks-but now into the toes of my left foot.

3372. It should be mentioned that when they are at the middle distance down the slanting rock, then they were granted as much ability to reason as they were able to receive, step by step. But it still accomplished nothing, and they persisted. 1748, 26, 27 Sept.

3373. All this has led me to conclude that just before the flood almost the whole inward person had been destroyed, so that hardly anything human was left.

3374. It should be well noted that it is not the power of argument, as it is called, that makes their persuasions so deadly, but it is their fantasies, whatever they may be, even the most absurd. They go so far in this persuasion as to kill everything living, that is, good and true-just as if they should say that this paper is black, not white, and so on.

3375. How the human race was afterwards turned upside down

Thus I was shown that they worked only into the right part of the head, that is, through desires, toward the left side of the chest, that is, fantasies issuing from desires (thus not fantasies apart from desires); thus were not operating out of principles of knowledge, which are highly persuasive, but pouring in dreadful persuasions at the same time, and then deadening the mental images of a person on earth or a spirit just as ice deadens one's members, driving away all the warmth of goodness and truth.

3376. From this I was also given to realize that after the flood mankind was turned upside down, so to speak, namely that there remained dreadful passions for, or pleasures in, tormenting the Lord and everything pertaining to faith, while here and there that hereditary character in the descendents was lessened, and then there succeeded mental images based on knowledge, which were separate [from desires], so that mankind became entirely different. For now the knowledge and understanding of religion could be stored away in a person, even one who remained immersed in dreadful passions and behaved insanely. So the thinking was separated from the will, which was more or less left to its desires so that there was no will, but the will for good and truth is the Lord's, and faith based on knowledge and understanding



12.15  The Love of Abusing Women



12.16  Taxonomy of Behavioral Dysfunctions

((see also  Personality Disorders))

This section describes the procedures involved in analyzing transcripts or portions of talk in the therapy interview. Transcripts may be prepared in full through recording and transcribing, or they may be merely recorded and listened to, or they may be merely remembered quotations from clients’ talk. This section shows in particular how talk is analyzable into “speech acts” which have clearly discernable psychodynamic information about the clients’ level of functioning interpersonally and interpersonally. The method illustrated here is based on a system of thought developed by Emanuel Swedenborg (1668—1771) and developed for this purpose by me. The paper is designed to be a ‘mini—lesson’ so that a prospective therapist or user may instantly decide whether it is useful or not. The following steps are involved in the use of this analytic system:

  • Step 1. Study and learn CHART OF SYMPTOMS (table 5) which relates clients’ discourse or talk to basic psycholinguistic functioning.
  • Step 2. Select discourse segments (or units) that are of particular interest to you as therapist because of their “psychodynamic” import (such as clients’ statements, comments, expressions, etc.
  • Step 3. Score selected discourse units using CHART OF SYMPTOMS (see illustration on p.6).
  • Step 4. Retrain clients for each dysfunction you’ve thus identified by focusing their attention on them and providing them with better alternatives (use Tables 1 through 4). 







Client’s ability to use general stan­dards of judgments and categorizations

client doesn’t use valid or good standards of judgment

client misjudges or mis-categorizes (i.e. where and when)

judgments and categorize at ions are being misused


Client’s abi­lity to apply objective norms to self and others

client doesn’t use appropriate or fair norms

client misevaluates (i.e. where and when)


norms client misuses


Client’s abi­lity to remem­ber facts and notice things

client doesn’t remember and notice things

client manages not to remember and notice

client doesn’t re­member and notice


Notes: LEVELS I, II, III correspond to stages of natural language development and use (e.g., I: Reading; II: Writing; III: Theme Organization).


AREAS A, B, C correspond to “depth” of functioning from “inmost” (Affective) through intermediate (Cognitive) to “outmost” (Behavioral) Direction A  ---->   B ---> C  is normal, mature, or repaired process while Direction C---> B --->A is analytic, empirical discovery of dysfunctions (or assessment of functions).

The Uses of Discourse in the Community








III. Organizational functions

  • -persuade/determine

  • -select/conclude

  • -judge/decide

  • -justify/confirm

  • -request/govern

  • -valuate/prioritize

  • etc.

  • -traditions /presuppositions

  • -taxonomies                  

  • -inventories/surveys

  • -standards/general plans

  • -laws/guiding strategies

  • -principles /premises

  • etc.

  • choices/values/catalogues

  • -specific steps /recommendations

  • -schedules/charts/filing systems

  • -budgets/proposals/

  • thesauruses

  • reviews/essays/subject headings

  • orders/requests/themes

  • etc.

Normative functions

  • -evaluate/assess

  • -compare/line up with

  • -qualify/question

  • -delimit/restrain

  • -challenge/defend

  • -formulate alternatives

  • -revise/edit

  • etc.

  • -reasoning’s

  • -argumentations

  • -explanations

  • -special considerations

  • -relevant norms

  • -accountings

  • -structures/out linings

  •  etc.

  • -norms/guides

  • - instructions

  • -replies/commentaries

  • -ratings/abstracts

  • -outlines/graphs

  • -results/tables

  • -reports/summaries

  • etc.


I.  Informational functions


  • -retrieve information

  • -identify

  • -describe

  • -copy information

  • -represent

  • -paraphrase

  • -translate

  • etc.


  • -tags/labels

  • -words/symbol s

  • -names/titles

  • -specific locations

  • -diagrams/pictures

  • -intersections

  • -associations

  • -similarities

  • etc.


  • -descriptions

  • -definitions

  • -dictionaries

  • -messages

  • -assertions

  • -indices

  • -meanings

  • -translations

  • -paraphrases

  • -formulaic expressions

  •  etc.










** feels lonely
withholds expression of ** emotions to relevant others
** feels failure
** feels unworthy
** etc.

** Inability to meet one’s own minimum standards
Lack of insight of self and others
** Challenges community premises
** etc.

Draws invalid conclusion
Makes wrong judgments
** Denies propositions that are true or proven
** Destructive to self and others
** etc.


** feels anger
** feels guilt
** feels unproductive
** feels hesitant unsure, shy
** is disinterested
** etc.
** reasons defensively
** thinks critically of others
** justifies unfair attitudes
** exaggerates
** etc.
** makes unreasonable requests
** misattributes causes of things
** shirks responsibility and is careless
** neglects duties and agreements
** etc.


Feels role strain ( ﺄ )


Feels tired ( ﺄﺄ )


Feels distracted ( ﺄﺄﺄ )


Feels frustration ( ﺄv )


Is excessively indulgent ( v )


Etc. ( vﺄ )

Is confused and unclear about obligations ( ﺄ )


Insufficiently informed ( ﺄﺄ )


Deficient literacy skills ( ﺄﺄﺄ )


Etc. ( ﺄv )

Forgets facts ( ﺄ )


Loses things ( ﺄﺄ )


Doesn’t keep appointments

( ﺄﺄﺄ )

Fails to carry out instructions

( ﺄv )

Unreliability ( v )






 12.17  Psychotherapy as Biological Theology

The first column of this chart lists some common behavioral symptoms arranged in 7 sub-categories that are of interest to religious education, moral development, and psychological adjustment. The second column gives a common framework to each sub-category of symptoms as viewed from the perspective of Swedenborg's spiritual psychology. The third column identifies the elements of Swedenborg's theistic science under separate Doctrines. Please note that these compilations represent my own categorizations in accordance with my understanding of Swedenborg and psychology. Research is needed to show the chart's taxonomic validity and usefulness. I invite your comments.


Chart of Biological Theology and Behavioral Symptomatology

Illustrations of how biological theology serves as the origin for
clinical and educational practices in theistic psychology

Behavioral Symptoms in Affective, Cognitive, and Sensorimotor Domains
evils | sins | temptations | ills | disorders | disfunctions

Applications in Rational / Spiritual Psychology
spiritual therapy | religious education | self-help | spiritual growth

Justifications in Biological Theology

doctrines | revelations | illustrations | enlightenment

1. Cognitive Problems

1. Cognitive Therapy

1. Doctrine of Spirits or the Vertical Community

anxieties | basic existential dissatisfaction | being over critical | complaining | cynicism | depression | doubting | feeling inferior | hopelessness | multiple personality | negative self-image | pessimism | phobias | psychosis | schizophrenia | self-denigration | unrealistic expectations | worrying | etc. |

Learning new self-regulatory sentences that can be used to deliberately change one's spiritual associates
(e.g., I am worthwhile vs. I deserve nothing; | or, I could never succeed at that vs. I can do it if I try hard enough); | etc. |

Spirits feel an attraction to certain thoughts or persuasions. When connection with them is thus opened, their affections flow in, thus enslaving the individual as long as the thoughts or beliefs are held on to.

2. Character Weaknesses

2. Religious Morality

2. Doctrine of Temptations and Regeneration

corporeality | cowardice | dangerous lifestyles | drug addiction | drunkenness | eating disorders | gambling | indecisiveness | lack of cleanliness | procrastination | superficiality | thrill seeking | etc. |

Acknowledging God's Omnipotence and shunning evils in oneself as personal sins against the Divine (indicating insufficient love or commitment). Cooperating with God through conscience, exerting daily effort at change.

The Divine Human regenerates everyone through temptations, providing only those that the individual can overcome as-of-self. This process proceeds until death, and in the afterlife one's fate is as one's loves have become.

3. Sexuality Disorders

3. Understanding Psychobiology of Couplehood

3. Doctrine of Conjugial Love

banalization of love | being unromantic | child abuse | coldness among married partners | desacralization of marriage | fear of intimacy | fear of sexuality | fetishism | frigidity | impotence | lack of passion | love of marital infidelity | love of pornography | love of prostitution | love of seducing virgins | mechanical sex | misogyny | persecuting the weak or innocent | profaning Scriptures | promiscuousness | pseudo-intimacy | rape and the love violation | self-centered approach to sex | sexism | sexual harassment | swearing | uncontrolled lust | unsafe sexual experimentation | vulgarity | etc.

Studying and understanding the psychobiological consequences to the mind when one rejects chastity and fidelity in marriage partners. Recognizing the sacredness of marriage. Practicing this on a daily basis throughout life.

Everyone who has not been sufficiently regenerated retains an inherited hatred of chastity in marriage and of the sphere of innocence of children, which is the sphere of Heaven and God.

4. Psychopathic Tendencies

4. Conscience Therapy

4. Doctrine of the Love of Self

cheating | deceit | delight in punishing | greed | insincerity | lying | manipulating others | megalomania | narcissism | perjury | robbery | shallowness of relationships | etc. |

Learning through self-examination to become aware of one's self-serving biases and restoring the delights of being noble and good

Love of self destroys the conscience. It is chiefly the love of ruling over others and possessing their goods.

5. Sociopathic Tendencies

5. Spiritual Practice

5. Doctrine of the Three Levels of the Mind

antidemocratic tendencies | criminality | cruelty | cultism | discrediting truth | dogmatism | escapism |fundamentalism | impudence | intolerance | irrationality | lack of respect for authority | libel | machismo | malice | mania | murder | obsession | paranoia | persecution | philistinesism | prejudice | rebelliousness | revenge | technophobia | unethical behaviors | xenophobia | etc. |

Learning to do the practice of faith, religion, or spirituality, in order to reopen the spiritual levels of the mind. This level becomes closed when faith or conscience is systematically ignored or reinterpreted to justify oneself. This can be successful only in conjunction with religious morality (see top of Table).

The mind has three levels: natural; spiritual; celestial. The following close the spiritual and celestial levels of the mind, leaving the individual spiritually insane, led by fantasies and, worse than beasts: falsification of the Word; religion of the mouth only; misuse of the Church; cultism; magic; spiritism; materialism; pantheism; atheism; naturalism, and the like.

6. Mood Problems

6. Controlling Sensorimotor Environment

6. Doctrine of the Grand Human

accident proneness | aesthetic dullness and grossness | anger | bad dreams | bad moods | bad posture | compulsions | forgetfulness | grumpiness | inability to concentrate | insomnia | lack of creativity | nightmares | overactive imagination | seasonal affective disorders | etc. |

Learning and experimenting with how to alter one's environment: body position | clothing and coverings | physical context or background | climate | scenery | sequence of acts | etc. |
Such deliberate body and environmental changes alter one's lines of spiritual connections with the Grand Human.

The arrangement and interconnections of spiritual societies are in the image of the human body and in accordance with mental genius or character (spiritual geography).

7. Learned Helplessness

7. New Age Education

7. Doctrine of Uses

acceptance of mediocrity | adult dependency | anti-intellectuality | empty headedness | fatalism | foolishness | giving up prematurely | gullibility | irresponsibility | lack of initiative | laziness | low ambition | not taking responsibility for self | playing the victim | stupidity | etc.

Right-brain educational and socialization practices that emphasize the development and nurture of the affective domain, first, and second, its conjunction with the cognitive domain.

Heavenly life, which is the life of love, intelligence, and wisdom in action, is created by the love of uses, i.e., of desiring to be useful to others and making them happy out of oneself.



"So we gave them a lot of psychological tests, and we found they looked pretty good, especially a group of recently returned missionaries."

In 1987 Bergin and Richards reported some of that research in a paper coauthored with Kevin S. Masters, who, like Richards, was a BYU graduate student when the research was conducted. Published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the study showed that religious people are not more mentally disturbed than nonreligious people. The study also found that religious people whose church activity is based on "intrinsic" motivations are more mentally healthy than those who are motivated by "extrinsic" factors. Bergin explains, "If you're intrinsic and personally committed, you show up much better on the tests than if you're kind of role-playing your religion and you're extrinsic, looking at the externals--who you're going to please or the kind of social contacts you're going to make. People who are oriented that way do not score nearly as well."

Having, with other researchers, proved that religion is not, in itself, a mental health liability, Bergin and Richards continue to investigate the success of therapeutic strategies and techniques that draw upon a client's religious background.

They are careful, always, to insist that a therapist's functions remain separate from those that belong to an ecclesiastical leader.

And they are now working to collect and develop their work into books that will, they hope, be useful to many of their peers. Their first collaborative book, A Spiritual Strategy for Counseling and Psychotherapy, was published by the APA in 1997 and has received positive reviews.

"We've proposed an explicitly theistic, spiritual perspective for mainstream psychology and psychotherapy," Richards explains. "And we've put it forward as the beginnings of a new orientation for therapy and for a view of human nature. Most theories of psychology and psychotherapy start with naturalistic assumptions.

"They don't talk about God; they don't talk about spiritual influences or realities. They try to explain human beings without any reference to that, or if they do make reference to it, it's been done negatively. And so we start with spiritual assumptions. We try to help people see how if you start with these theistic assumptions it changes the way you think about human nature and also how you think about psychotherapy."

Bergin adds, "It gives you a different perspective on personal responsibility, I think, because you feel an obligation to God or God's commandments and laws. That really helps when you're trying to teach someone self-regulation, that they have a higher reason to control themselves."

Selection from: "Against the Current" by Mary Lynn Bahr, Associate Editor


12.18  Keeping track of Negative Emotions


12.18.1  Suspicion


Emotion 3: Suspicion

Suspicion 1

Type of Information Reported DETAILS OF THE WITNESSING
1. Name of Emotion Suspicion
2. Date Occurred Sept. 15, 1978
3. Time Experience Occurred at: 12;30 AM
Recorded at: Sept. 28, 1978 @ 9:40 PM
4. Location Experience Occurred In my apartment
5. Circumstances Surrounding
Experience and Leading up to it.
I had been making calls to various friends I had not seen all summer. While going through my phonebook, I saw a girl's phone number my boyfriend had written down. He had access to my place from May to August. I felt suspicious because my boyfriend had gone out on me before.
6. Relating Imaginings During the
I imagined that he had really seen someone else while I was gone. Furthermore, I wondered whether he had brought this girl to my apartment.
7. Reactions to Experience:
Immediate and Delayed
Immediate : I felt worried all afternoon and the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

Delayed : A delay in time reinforced my suspicions. I discovered "truths" that I wasn't aware of before. He had taken this other girl out. What a reinforcement of a negative emotion to experience. I became increasingly suspicious of this man who said he loved me.


Suspicion 2

Type of Information Reported DETAILS OF THE WITNESSING
1. Name of Emotion Suspicion
2. Date Occurred Nov. 19, 1978
3. Time Experience Occurred at: 7:38 PM
Recorded at: 10:00 PM
4. Location Experience Occurred Sears Roebuck and Co. Department store, the Women's Budget Shop
5. Circumstances Surrounding
Experience and Leading up to it.
This certain girl kept hanging around the rack where we sell earrings and every time she looked at me, se would walk away, but the next time I would see her, she would be by the earrings again. I had a feeling that she was planning to shoplift.
6. Relating Imaginings During the
I wanted to call the security but I wasn't sure whether I should. I thought maybe I should wait because I wouldn't want to accuse an innocent person. It would be embarrassing for me and humiliating for her. I also knew that I had no right to apprehend her myself because that's the job of the security guards.
7. Reactions to Experience:
Immediate and Delayed
Immediate : I really didn't know just what to do because I was so unsure whether she intended to steal anything or not. I decided that the thing to do was to just keep a close eye on her until I saw something happen. I felt uncomfortable though because I'd sure hate to eye someone up for something that they didn't do yet. Although they might in the future. I figured that the thing to do was to watch her and do nothing.

Delayed : I was glad that I kept an eye on her because I can't help but think that it discouraged her from taking anything, if that was her intention in the first place. I'm glad that I didn't do anything impulsive to make her think that I was actually accusing her of anyting.


Suspicion 3

Type of Information Reported DETAILS OF THE WITNESSING
1. Name of Emotion Suspicion
2. Date Occurred Dec. 5, 1978
3. Time Experience Occurred at: 12:28 PM
Recorded at: 12:53 PM
4. Location Experience Occurred At my desk during work
5. Circumstances Surrounding
Experience and Leading up to it.
Every time something gets misplaced or some one is taking something from my desk. First it was my stapler, then my pens are gone now. I know I left them on my desk.
6. Relating Imaginings During the
I think the cleaning lady sometimes uses it and doesn't return it or something. However, I never can find it again. Is she taking it home?
7. Reactions to Experience:
Immediate and Delayed
Immediate : I hate to accuse or suspect someone. It just doesn't seem fair. And for all I know, if I do suspect her, it would probably be someone else. But I sure would like to know who is doing it and I would like to catch them.

Delayed : Until I see for my own eyes, I won't worry about it. After all, it can be replaced. But I don't understand why it seems to be only my desk. Do I have the better pens?


12.18.2  Resentment

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Authors: Leon James &  Diane Nahl Webmaster: I.J. Thompson